Love, Life And Loss
Hetty by Claire Gathercole is a powerful historical novel dealing with love and loss and life. It is set from World War II to the mid 1960’s. It totally consumed me from the start. Hetty is based on a real-life dilemma from World War II.
The characters are well drawn and realistic, eliciting a variety of responses from the reader.
Much of the action is set in and around Wells in Somerset. It is a place I know well. Familiar landscapes enhanced my reading experience.
Life during Word War II was very different from life in peacetime. Life had to be grabbed wherever happiness could be found. There was no guarantee of tomorrow. The result was that hastily arranged marriages were not always happy places to be after the war when true characters were revealed.
Despite this, love pervades the whole novel. There is a love that neither time nor distance can kill. And there is a great love for one’s children. Love is what remains when the last page is read.
There is loss too, not just from war but from life events. There are crushing losses whose impact will never diminish, you just have to learn to live through the pain.
Hetty was an all-consuming novel. There were some kind souls whose kindness reaches beyond the novel to encompass the reader.
Hetty is a powerful read. Claire Gathercole pulls no punches – sometimes life is not always nice but love is powerful force. We need to look beyond ourselves and our circumstances and both give and receive love.
I received a free copy from the publishers. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.