The Summer Before the War

The Summer Before the War

A Novel

Large Print - 2016
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It's the summer of 1914 and life in the sleepy village of Rye, England is about to take an interesting turn. Agatha Kent, a canny force for progress, is expecting an unusual candidate to be the school's Latin teacher: Beatrice Nash, a young woman of good breeding in search of a position after the death of her father. (Never has there been a woman Latin teacher.) Agatha's nephews, meanwhile, have come to spend the summer months, as always, both with dreams of their own: Daniel, the poet, to publish a literary journal in Paris, and Hugh, to graduate from medical studies and marry his surgeon's daughter thus inheriting a lucrative practice. But then Hugh is sent to pick up Beatrice from the train station and life, of course, changes.
Publisher: New York :, Random House Large Print,, [2016]
Edition: Large print edition
ISBN: 9780451482112
Branch Call Number: LP SIM
Characteristics: 689 pages (large print) ; 24 cm

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From Library Staff

List - Beach Reads 2016
WVMLlibrarian Jul 12, 2016

It's the summer of 1914 and Beatrice Nash has arrived at a school in Rye, East Sussex to teach Latin, a subject taught exclusively by men. Beatrice struggles to find her place in the small town as the war slowly overtakes Rye and the characters who call it home. For fans of Downton Abbey, Edwardi... Read More »


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g
glotet
Jun 19, 2019

I found the first 100 pages a bit of a challenge, but hung in there because of the favourable reviews. It wasn’t until I completed reading before I realized that what seemed arduous reading at the beginning was actually laying the ground for what was to come.
So I returned to the beginning 100 pages and read them thoroughly this time.

i
Inga57
Mar 07, 2019

Kindle Immersion Read
Helen Simonson does it again! She's created a vivid picture of the time and painted lovely characters to tell the story.

t
trude31
Nov 27, 2018

A great read. This stands out among other books with similar subject matter. Great character descriptions with some droll humour . I could not stop reading til I finished it.
The settings are authentic in the details, of the early 20th century.

e
EAEccher
Nov 26, 2018

A slog. Endless descriptions of what characters wore and ate. Read Simonson's source materials instead.

b
Bonnie_Schultz
Jul 17, 2018

I loved this novel! It took me awhile to get involved in it, as it started somewhat slowly. It was a different book than "Major Pettigrew's Last Stand," which was a great read and absorbing right from the beginning.

Apparently there are some anachronisms, such as Agatha and other characters wanting to be addressed by their first names, but that is more the fault of the editor than Helen Simonson (editor? what's that?). A big point is made at the oppression women faced at the time, all too real, given that they did not yet even have the right to vote. I was a bit disappointed that Beatrice Nash, obviously a smart, spirited young woman, didn't speak up at various points in the novel, but there you go.

The depictions of WWI and its brutal effects on the English are heartrending. Simonson portrays well the fatuousness of those in the population who thought enlisting was some sort of lark or adventure. "Testament of Youth" was one of the books used as a source for her novel.

Anyway, if you are interested in this period and in English village life, you won't be disappointed. Well-written with vivid descriptions, and a light and at times comic touch.

l
Lilybug062
May 25, 2018

Wonderful story !

j
jkline1
Aug 24, 2017

Great book. The reader "lives" in a small town in England and meets its inhabitants. The book concentrates on the summer before WWI and how the upcoming war effects its inhabitants. I felt like I really got to know the characters as well as the time period. I would recommend this book. (A bit long, though, at 615 pgs. - e-book edition. Make sure you have plenty of time to read it. )

t
tedperry
Aug 15, 2017

Loved this book in all its delicious, 'plodding' detail. Although I wasn't around in 1914, have certainly read enough books set in that time frame to know that many people really were like this.
For those who don't read much, Downton Abbey certainly portrayed some of the social customs of that time.

CRRL_MegRaymond Jul 25, 2017

1914. The last lovely summer in East Sussex. Beatrice Nash arrives to teach Latin - who knew she would be so young and so beautiful?

l
lcassity
Mar 23, 2017

With the anniversary of America's entry into WWI approaching, this book is a timely and spellbinding read. My grandfather talked of WWI and his comments made the book seem more personal. I put off reading this book for several months and that was a mistake. It's enjoyable and informative. Give it a try if historical fiction is something you read.

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