on Aug. 21, 2012 :
Did I enjoy this book: I did enjoy this book. It took a little while to find the groove and really get into it, but once I did, I read it every free chance I had until I finished the last sentence.
I have always enjoyed historical fiction revolving around World War II. News on the Home Front was a great, new perspective...much different than a lot of the WWII fiction books that I have read in the past. I don't think I have every read a WWII fiction novel that focused on the women left at home in the states when the men went to war. This book put me through so many emotions...sad, happy, content, anxious, laughter, stress. You name it (just about anything), I felt it while reading this book.
At first, I did not care for the two main characters - Carole and Irene. I thought that they were rather spoiled and childish. However, the further along in the book I got, the more I felt for them. Carole grew the most throughout this book. She is truly a strong and courageous young woman. Irene, Carole's best friend, was a hard worker, volunteering to work in the factory even though she didn't need to work. She became a crane operator much to the chagrin of her male counterparts. Although Irene doesn't always make the right decisions, she is a true, caring friend.
The other characters were well-written, too. I enjoyed Mrs. Kennison, the loving maid and long-time "member" of the family. Philip was Carole's fiance and pilot sent overseas for a top secret mission. Bretaigne, Carole's doctor, was a good guy who had fled to the US from Nazi Germany. I would have liked more of his story.
The book went back and forth between the present time and the past which laid some groundwork for Carole and Irene's friendship. With these different scenes came different points of view for the narration. Sometimes these transitions were difficult to keep up with but not so difficult that it made that book less enjoyable. The same can be said for the typos that were found here and there - more so towards the end of the book.
Would I recommend it: I would recommend this book, especially if you enjoy reading World War II historical fiction.
Will I read it again: I will not read this book again but I will definitely read more by this author.
(reviewed 5 months after purchase)
on July 19, 2012 :
The details of America’s recent history abound in Christopher Geoffrey McPherson’s News on the Home Front, bringing to life the world of rich and comfortable women left behind when husbands and brothers went to war. Paperback books are just being introduced to the stores, movies are made, silk stockings are scarce, and servants are kind. Since my own knowledge of World War II’s home front comes from my English background, this entirely different world had me hearing the silken voices of movie stars in its dialog and imagining black and white scenes from the silver screen.
Irene becomes a “vital member of the working class” building parts in a factory while her upper class friend Carole enjoys the luxuries of lying in bed, awaiting breakfast and bemoaning her fiancé’s departure for war. But the two friends are inseparable, and Irene tries to cheer Carole with shopping trips where they bemoan the absence of luxuries in the stores. On the surface, these characters annoyed me, but the story grows as it progresses, secret fears adding depth and the keeping of secrets adding tension. The characters changed, grew wiser though still annoying, and I wanted more for them.
Long pieces of backstory pull the threads together eventually, building the novel to a nicely emotional climax. I wasn’t entirely convinced by the characters’ changes of heart, but then, these are people who keep secrets even from themselves—a Home Front, but also a front kept up at home. News on the Home Front is like a black and white movie in a book, sweet, soft-spoken, soft-focused, occasionally biting, and honestly drawn.
Disclosure: I received a free ecopy of this novel from the author in exchange for my honest review, and I’m just sorry it took me so long to get to it.
(reviewed 4 months after purchase)