Wow – Mesmerising
A Soldier’s Return by Paul Carlin is an absolutely fantastic and compelling dual timeline novel that gripped me from the start. It is set in 2014 and from 1914 during World War I in an old manor house.
Paul Carlin draws the reader in from the start as there is an air of mystery and menace that has the reader asking questions – why do the villagers want nothing to do with the old house? The manor house holds its secrets and we want to know the answers.
1914 was a bygone age of masters and servants. Society was still very much class based. Morals and values were definitely slanted towards the upper classes. The lower classes must do as they were told or suffer the consequences.
War was terrible. World War I produced cannon fodder using young men on both sides. “The men they were fighting, the men they were raining bombs on, were no different to them.” Strip away the uniforms and the men were all the same. Paul Carlin has captured the horrors of World War I with his full descriptions.
Many men fell in France. Those who did come home, had often left their minds on the battlefield. There was a whole generation of women without their menfolk as Pals battalions decimated their home towns.
Grief can drive people out of their minds and cause them to do unthinkable things. This reader was shocked by the turn of events.
Paul Carlin writes employing the gothic horror tradition as buildings become particularly menacing at night. The darkness allows those with active imaginations to run wild.
An age-old superstition still abounds in the village. Surely by 2014 it is time to lay the old stories to rest.
The characters were well drawn and realistic, eliciting a variety of responses from me.
The Soldier’s Return was a totally gripping read but not one to be read in isolation or darkness!
I received a free copy from the publishers. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.