Fall of Poppies is a collection of historical fiction short stories written by several very talented authors. I’ve read the work of several of the authors but a few were new to me. What stands out in my mind is that all the stories offered are strong – there isn’t one that I can say that didn’t capture my interest and my heart. The stories aren’t connected in any way other than they all have the common theme of the Armistice and the effects of the war on both the soldiers and those left at home.
The Daughter of Belgium by Marci Jefferson was one of my favorite stories. It is about Amelie who has suffered greatly due to the war. She finds solace working in a medical clinic but hopes for a better life for herself and her daughter. This story touched my heart.
The Record Set Right by Lauren Willig was another favorite. It’s about Millie, now elderly, being called back to her former home in England. Once there she finds herself looking back on the war and the effects it had on her and her family that have reverberated right to the present day. Excellent story!
All For the Love of You by Jennifer Robson is about a young woman whose story centres on a lost love. My favorite part of this story was learning about the masks that were created to hide the facial damage of the soldiers injured in the war. Absolutely fascinating!
After You’ve Gone by Evangeline Holland is about a young woman who moved to France to be a dancer and falls in love and marries her dance partner. Then the war begins and all of her dreams for a future are shattered at a time when things weren’t very easy for women left alone.
Something Worth Landing For by Jessica Brockmole is a great story. It’s about a young soldier set upon doing the right thing. In doing so he also finds love. I found this one to be a beautiful love story that truly touched my heart.
Hour of the Bells by Heather Webb focuses on Beatrix, a widow. Her son Adrien is fighting in the war and when Beatrix believes he’s dead she loses all will to live herself and only wants vengeance on those who have taken everything from her.
An American in Paris by Beatriz Williams is a story told from a male perspective. Focuses on the effects of the war on pilots. It’s a well written story and I love this author but this story wasn’t a favorite – quite possibly because it was from a male point of view and one I couldn’t connect with.
The Photograph by Kate Kerrigan is a story that showcases how love can happen even when it’s forbidden due to circumstances. This is the case for Bridie who had ancestors that fought for Irish nationalism. Her daughter is seeing an English soldier which has thrown the family into a tizzy. Later though as Bridie is looking at an old photo of her aunt she sees that at one time there may have been another English soldier. Love is love. Great story!
Hush by Hazel Gaynor is a beautiful story to end the collection with. Annie is a midwife trying to bring a child into the world while agonizing over the safety of the son she has fighting in the war. These two events connect with each other at an important moment as the bond between mother and son shines through. A definite favorite for me.
This is an exceptional collection for those who enjoy historical fiction or reading about the Great War. The stories are of loss, hope, and ultimately love. An amazing collection – highly recommended!