Poppy Flowers at The Front - Jonathan Wilkins
Genre: Historical Fiction
Synopsis: 1917: with her father in the British secret service and her brother Alfie in the trenches, under-age Poppy Loveday volunteers against her parents’ wishes to drive ambulances in France. We follow her adventures, racing to save wounded men driven to the Casualty Clearing Station, and back to the Base Hospital.
During one battle she finds Élodie Proux, a French nurse, at a roadside clutching a dead soldier. Poppy rescues her. Élodie becomes her dearest girl as they fall in love.
Poppy and Élodie encounter frightening adversaries at the Western Front as well as away from it during the closing weeks of World War One.
My Thoughts: Poppy Loveday is an ambulance driver on the front line in France during WW1. When she joins, she is underage and shouldn’t really be there. She came from a wealthy background where her family owned a Hall in Leicestershire and their household had staff (nanny when she was younger, cook, etc) so for her to go from everything to nothing must have been a stark reality check for her. She meets French nurse Elodie and instantly they spark a bond.
The bond they share develops into something more than just a friendship and eventually they confess their love for one another. Something I thought the entire way through the book is how hard it must have been to have been gay during this period in time. They were able to show affection towards one another, but it was very much secretive and limited.
This book is very much character driven. I really developed a strong love for Poppy and Elodie. Their relationship with one another was great and it really did warm my stone cold heart.
The plot of the story comprises of the actual storyline, letters to and from Poppy’s family and diary entries. The diary entries are the only real indicator of how much time is passing between chapters. Although the book is relatively short, it definitely felt much longer. The chapters are quite long and jump back and forth a little bit between where Poppy is and what she’s doing at that particular moment. I personally would have preferred it to be broken down into shorter chapters; that way there’s less going back and forth and I think it would make the story flow a little bit better.
There isn’t a particular plot to the storyline, it’s more just following Poppy in her life on the frontline. I enjoy stories that just follow people’s lives and so I did really enjoy this book. I did, however, sometimes forget that there was supposed to be a war going on. Sometimes things were just a little bit too relaxed and under control… But then again I didn’t live through the First World War, so what do I know?!
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