After the War is a sequel to Somewhere in France by the Canadian author Jennifer Robson. It is part of a trilogy with the remaining book to be released in early 2016. Although I enjoyed it, I found it difficult to make the transition from reading about the main character Lilly to engaging with the story of her friend, Charlotte.
Charlotte had been Lilly’s governess who had provided Lilly with shelter when she left her parents home. She had become a nurse during the war and afterwards returned to her job working as a political aide. Following the war, many were destitute, war veterans unable to work and war widows unable to find work to support their families. Charlotte not only helped these families but increased public knowledge of the challenges faced after the war by writing a weekly column for the newspaper.
Throughout the novel, the reader recognized the love that Charlotte and Edward shared quietly. Their relationship was thwarted by class and station. Charlotte was the daughter of a minister who was scorned by Edward and Lilly’s society mother. Despite their love, they could not be together due to responsibility and circumstance.
Historical fiction is both entertaining and educational and Robson did a wonderful job portraying the role of strong women during WWI. Charlotte demonstrated the compassion, independence and strength that woman continued to exhibit as they struggled for the right to vote and graduate from universities. I look forward to reading Robson’s third book.