Historical fiction is my favourite genre and this Christmas gift was a captivating account of the beauty of nature contrasted with the death and devastation of the second World War. This novel intertwines the stories of newlyweds separated by war. James was captured during his first mission and is relatively safe a prisoner of war while his young wife Rose lives alone in the English countryside.
James fills his days studying a family of redstarts instead of dwelling on the monotony of his captivity. He witnesses their nest building, egg laying and the care and feeding of the young yet misses the fledging from his vantage point within the prison camp. He enjoys the solitude while watching the birds that live and fly in freedom. He shares his findings with his wife through his detailed letters avoiding sharing his own feelings about the camp and how he is missing her when that is what she yearns to read about.
Rose struggles with loneliness and seeks connection in the letters from James. She finds the descriptions of the birds void of his feelings and looses her connection with her husband, finding comfort elsewhere in the countryside village.
Their stories continue after the war and although they remain apart, they are connected through loneliness. This is a intricately written story which weaves nature, loneliness and human connection during a terrible time in history.
Helen Humphreys resides in Kingston, Ontario and will be participating in the January author discussion of the Grimsby Author Series. I look forward to hearing this author speak and getting my copies of The Evening Chorus and Coventry signed.