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This is truly one of the saddest books I have ever read! Just seeing the title of your post today made me feel badly again. That said, it was beautifully written and I will get to her other titles in time.


Thanks Danielle, for participating, I will link your review. I really love this book despite the sadness. I never thought of Alec as a coward, I just thought he wasn't keen on fighting but not that he was afraid of it. And if he had been. Would that make him a coward? Not in my eyes. I will certainly read another Jennifer Johnston sonn and am looking forward to The Return of the Soldier.


This is a book that has always been on my radar but which I actually knew nothing about. Having read several reviews of it over the past few days, I think I'm going to take it off my radar screen for the moment. One of my reading groups read William Brodrick's 'A Whispered Name' at the back end of last year, a truly brilliant book, but it covers the same ground to some extent and I'm still excoriated by it. I can't go back there just yet.

Simon T

I love The Return of the Solider!

I'm reading one of JJ's at the moment - The Gingerbread Woman - for my book group. So far, I think it's ok - not bowled over.


Cathy--I agree it was very sad. I've had to pick up something fluffy and light to balance it all out. It is worth the time and effort but you definitely need to be in the right mood!
Caroline--I knew this was one I wanted to read again, so thanks for giving me a chance to do so--it's amazing how much more you get out of a book the second time around. Did you catch that conversation he had with his father where the father called him a coward for going to war rather than staying and facing life (and maybe taking a harder path?)? I thought that really interesting, but I also didn't think him a coward at all. I have a few other books by her and will also be reading something else this year.
Annie--Do keep this on your pile, but despite its short length, it does pack a punch. Too many stories like this at once might be too much so I don't blame you for waiting a bit. I will have to check out the Broderick book as that is a name I am unfamiliar with.
Simon--I think I read it too fast when I read it a few years ago, so I am happy to have a chance to read it again (slower this time!) in a group setting--I always get more out of a story when I can read different perspectives. I've not yet read The Gingerbread Woman--I do have it, though. I read one called Truth or Fiction, which was good (maybe like you--didn't exactly bowl me over), but this one really was excellent.

Dorothy W.

I'll have to keep an eye out for this one because it would be good preparation for my Ireland trip. It reminds me of the Frank Delaney I just finished reading, although that was World War II. But it's interesting to read about Ireland's role in the wars. It sounds like this one is better than the Delaney, though!


Dorothy--I thought of you when I was writing my post. About half the book is set in Ireland and it might be interesting to read about the attitudes and history. Jennifer Johnston has written quite a few novels, so if a WWI story doesn't appeal, I bet you could find one that does. She's certainly worth reading at some point.


I found the father the most likable and sensible person. He also says "War is never over By Christmas", the exact opposite of what people said.


Caroline--I liked the father as well. I liked what he had to say about the land and just having it temporarily--he was a wise man. He understood it all, but how does one fight against the tide?!

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