I am hoping to write an amazing review for this one to try to explain how fantastically this author writes. So I need to think about what I want to say and will finish this review tomorrow.
A relatively simple story about three people, James who will spend five years as a prisoner of war in a German camp, his wife Rose, left alone in a small cottage in Ashton Forest and James's sister, Enid, who will lose her house, job and lover during the London Blitz. Yet, in this simple story told in straightforward but wonderful prose, lies the magic of Humphrey's writing. In the beginning reading this, I found a story that was just interesting enough to entice me to keep reading, especially if one likes nature, and I do. But before long I found myself totally immersed in these characters lives, ordinary lives of people caught in extraordinary circumstances. This author has the ability to slowly draw you in and using many tidbits and interesting information about the fauna and natural life found within the forest, keep the reader interested.
Although this is a quiet story, about three lives and one reluctant commandant, changed irrevocably during the war, I wanted to know what happened to these people after the war. How did they pick up the pieces and continue on? Where did they end up and what did they do? I cared for all three of them. Her writing offered such insights, on relationships, family and memory that the sentences sometimes seemed to literally take my breath away and I had to stop, think and then re-read the lines. That so much can be contained in a book this size is surely a work of magic. And that is just how I feel about her writing and this book, rather magical and awe stuck.
That this novel is partially based on three actual events makes it even more special.