My first book in my 12 months of reading journey was The New Mrs Clifton by Elizabeth Buchan.
What is the book about?
It is set just after the end WWII, we have Gus returning home to England, his two sisters Julia and Tilly waiting for him but it’s not just him that comes home, with him, he brings home a wife.
Krista is German and to say his sisters are shocked is an understatement but no one is more shocked than his fiancée Nella and Gus’s best friend Teddy.
All are carrying secrets and hate but they all have to try to get along, easier said than done. So we follow these character’s as they try to adjust to life after the war and also to each other.
Can it be done?
I don’t normally read books that are set during or around the end of the war. I’m not sure why, I think, maybe it could be that it wasn’t really that long ago, especially WWII. I mean my grandparents were around at that time, so I find it quite tough to read. Also if there is too much army talk and technical terms used then I get lost.
But recently I have read a couple of books that were set around this time period that I really enjoyed which is why I decided to give The New Mrs Clifton a go.
To be honest I struggled with this book to start, I really struggled. I just couldn’t get into the story or follow the characters, I put it down I few times.
But with all books I like to get half way before I even consider giving up and even then I rarely do because once I have started a book I like to finish it, even if it takes a few months (like when I read The Hobbit).
So I kept going and lo and behold I got halfway and I started to like it, I started to enjoy the characters, I wanted to see the outcome for all of them.
As I say the beginning is a bit slow, it took a while for me to care about the characters, I don’t know if that’s because it was all about setting the scene, the author wanted you to know who was who and what was what and where. Which I know is what’s suppose to happen at the beginning of a book but I feel it may have gone on for too long.
If you persevere like me you are rewarded, the characters come to life, they all have their own stories to tell and they are told well. I especially loved how Krista was portrayed. Here we have a German woman who has married an English man coming to live in England, imagine that happening and how hard it would have been to start a new life here, especially when the war with Germany had just ended.
The author addresses this well, I felt sorry for Krista, I wanted her to do well and I wanted everyone to just leave her alone and just accept her, it wasn’t her fault that the war broke out, she had been to hell and back herself but she was a German living in England.
Elizbeth Buchan got the balance just right between Krista settling and people adjusting to her. It didn’t feel forced or unbelievable.
I also particularly liked the sisters and their relationship with Krista and each other. Both the opposite of each other with a different view on life but each with a secret that the other didn’t know. They both had their own personal reasons not to like Krista but they struggled, not wanting to upset their brother.
All three women have secrets that all come to ahead towards the end of the book, resulting in one very good cliff hanger, I just had to do a lot of reading to get there.
Was it worth it? I think so. I thoroughly enjoyed this book in the end. It’s a romance of sorts with family drama thrown in. It’s about trying to survive the war and staying together no matter how hard it gets but sometimes it’s not possible.
It’s about relationships between all, husband/wife, brother/sister, sisters/sister in-laws, ex fiancée’s to ex best friends, its got it all.
Elizabeth Buchan does write well, she brings the characters to life and is good at portraying the relationships between them all, as well as building tension but I just can’t put my finger on why I struggled so much at the beginning.
This is just my personal opinion of the book, I found the beginning hard work, you might read it and think What was she talking about?
But if like me you do struggle to get into it, keep going, it does get better.
Am I glad I read it? Yes. Will I read it again? probably not, so this book I will pass on for someone else to enjoy.
Please do tell me if you have read this book and what your opinions are of it, I would love to know.
Thanks for reading.