Together For Christmas by Carol Rivers

War & The Old Era

Together For Christmas by Carol Rivers is a delightful historical novel that I thoroughly enjoyed.

The title is misleading, this is not a festive offering but a book set from August 1914 – December 1918 when characters are together for Christmas. It is a comprehensive account of life on the home front during World War I.

We follow three orphans from an orphanage run by nuns. In 1914 the two girls are fifteen and the boy is seventeen. He becomes caught up in war fever and enlists despite being too young. We ‘hear’ of his war via letters.

Of the two girls – one goes into service and has aspirations of marrying into money and becoming a lady. This dream is destined to turn sour and become a nightmare.

The other is more down to earth and helps out a doctor with his patients. At first it is the poor that he treats but as the months go on, he sees more and more victims from the trenches. All have horrific injuries, none worse than the damaged minds that return. They cannot ‘unsee’ the horrors of war.

We hear of key World War I events – the Somme, mustard gas, mud, lice, sinking of the Lusitania, zeppelin raid and more. The detail gives an authenticity to the tale.

I thoroughly enjoyed Together For Christmas. We witness war but we also see a bygone era. The old world order is crumbling and perfectly poised to tip into the modern era. It was a compelling read.


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