We Will Remember Them
The Lost Soldier by Diney Costeloe is a marvellous contemporary and historical novel being set in both the first world war and 2001. It is a remarkable novel as facts are woven into fiction. It is the tale of a lost generation of men in the futility of war.
Every man killed in battle had a name and a face. “He may be unknown but he gave his life as surely as did the others.” Journalist Rachel searches out the story behind the unknown soldier in the ash grove memorial.
Diney Costeloe shows the horrors of war. The soldiers were little more than boys. They fought for our freedoms. They left behind their lives and their loves. They faced horrors. They had to live for today as tomorrow was uncertain. “We have to live for now… there may not be a tomorrow.”
The novel intertwines the soldiers stories with the girls they left behind – namely in the novel Sarah (the daughter of the lord of the manor) and her maid Molly. War makes the pair equals and shows them to be made of strong stuff as they journey to France to nurse the wounded and the dying.
Life at or near the front was not glamorous. It was hard. Diney Costeloe brilliantly portrays the horrors of war – the sights and sounds can be ‘seen’ and ‘smelt’ through her descriptions. The horrors are really bought to life for the reader.
The subject of faith arises in the story as part of it is set in a convent in France. Rituals, prayers and belief in God are important for the Catholic nuns. Sarah too, embraces their faith “I’ve handed my problems over to God and He knows what to do about them.” Molly, on the other hand, finds God hard to believe in. “Is there a God? Where is He in this …war?”
Diney Costeloe shows that life goes on even in the midst of war. There can be love and laughter and friendship.
Camaraderie was key to survival. The Pals regiments meant the men were united by their home towns already. They would go to extraordinary lengths to help their comrades.
There are some difficult topics such as both child and domestic abuse. These were swept under the carpet at the time. The topic of single mothers was raised too. They were shunned at the time which seems horrifying to the modern reader.
Diney Costeloe is a marvellous author who writes fabulous stories that speak to my heart. She presents hard hitting topics as well as educating the reader with some historical facts. I always love her books and can recommend The Lost Soldier.
May we never forget the sacrifice of all those brave servicemen and women who gave their lives and continue to give their lives for our freedom.
At the going down of the sun, we will remember them.