NWR Big Read 2014

The NWR Big Read is back by popular demand with a list of five books related to the 2014 theme of War and Peace. Sixteen books were suggested by members through the website and Facebook forums and five have been chosen through consultation with the Area and Special Group Organisers; this was quicker and easier than the previous process and also provides some options. We envisage that some Groups or Book Groups might well choose to read more than one, even all five, and make comparisons between them. Please send your reviews to the NWR Office by the end of September 2014 for the Winter edition of the NWR magazine and enjoy discussing the books on the NWR website Booklovers Forum. We will very much look forward to hearing your views......

(NB. There were six books but we have removed The Almond Tree as it is not available in audio format. If your Group has already chosen to read this book, your views will still be appreciated)

1. My Dear I wanted to Tell You by Louisa Young

While Riley Purefoy and Peter Locke fight for their country, their survival and their sanity in the trenches of Flanders, Nadine Waveney, Julia Locke and Rose Locke do what they can at home. Beautiful, obsessive Julia and gentle, eccentric Peter are married. Each day Julia goes through rituals to prepare for her beloved husband's return. Nadine and Riley, only eighteen when the war starts, and with problems of their own already, want above all to make promises - but how can they when the future is not in their hands? What about Rose? Well, what did happen to the traditionally brought-up women who lost all hope of marriage because all the young men were dead?

2. The Girl who Fell from the Sky by Simon Mawer

Marian Sutro is an outsider: the daughter of a diplomat, brought up on the shores of Lake Geneva and in England, she is half French, half British and naive yet too clever for her own good. When she is recruited from her desk job by SOE to go undercover in wartime France, it seems that her hybrid status and fluent French will be of service to a greater and more dangerous cause.

3. Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan

The year is 1972. The Cold War is far from over. Britain is being torn apart by industrial unrest and terrorism. Serena Frome, in her final year at Cambridge, is being groomed for MI5. Serena is sent on a secret mission - Operation Sweet Tooth - which brings her into the world of Tom Haley, a promising young writer. First she loves his stories, then she begins to love the man. Can she maintain the fiction of her undercover life? Who is inventing whom? To answer these questions, Serena must abandon the first rule of espionage - trust no one. ..


4. As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning by Laurie Lee

It was 1934 and a young man walked to London from the security of the Cotswolds to make his fortune. He was to live by playing the violin and by labouring on a London building site. Then, knowing one Spanish phrase, he decided to see Spain. For a year he tramped through a country in which the signs of impending civil war were clearly visible. Thirty years later Laurie Lee captured the atmosphere of the Spain he saw with all the freshness and beauty of a young man's vision, creating a lyrical and lucid picture of the beautiful and violent country that was to involve him inextricably.


5. Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo

Told in the voice of Private Tommo Peaceful, the story follows twenty-four hours at the front and captures his memories of his family and his village life which is by no means as tranquil as it appeared. Full of vivid detail and engrossing atmosphere, leading to a dramatic and moving conclusion, Private Peaceful is both a compelling love story and a deeply moving account of the First World War.

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