I'm really pleased to welcome you to the blog tour for The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow today.
The Poppy Factory will be published on 28 August 2014 by Avon.
With the end of the First World War, Rose is looking forward to welcoming home her beloved husband ,Alfie, from the battlefields. But his return is not what Rose had expected. Traumatised by what he has seen, the Alfie who comes home is a different man to the one Rose married. As he struggles to cope with life in peacetime,Rose wrestles with temptation as the man she fell in love with seems lost forever.Many years later, Jess returns from her final tour of Afghanistan. Haunted by nightmares from her time at the front, her longed-for homecoming is a disaster and she wonders if her life will ever be the same again. Can comfort come through her great-grandmother Rose’s diaries?For Jess and Rose, the realities of war have terrible consequences. Can the Poppy Factory, set up to help injured soldiers, rescue them both from the heartache of war?
It was to be expected that 2014 would be the year of World War I novels. I've read and reviewed some excellent books set in this era already this year. Each one of them has been very different, looking at different aspects of the Great War and The Poppy Factory can take it's place alongside these - it's a fascinating, interesting and very well-written story, and had me gripped from the first paragraph.
The Poppy Factory is a dual-time story and opens with Jess, a newly qualified paramedic who completes a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Jess faced the full horror of serving on the front line, dealing with horrific injuries and death on an almost daily basis. Whilst in Afghanistan, Jess coped well, but on her return to civilian life she struggles to adapt and is haunted by flash backs. Jess finds solace in alcohol and alienates those that love her the most. Unable to carry on in the job that she's dreamt of doing for all of her life and wondering if she will ever return to the normal, loving girl that she was before, Jess discovers her great-grandmother Rose's diaries. Written during the Great War of 1914-1918, Rose opens her heart and bares her soul through the diaries.
The Poppy Factory is a wonderful story of life during World War I, especially for the women left behind when their men went off to fight. These women became the breadwinners, they mourned the deaths of so many of their loved ones, they adapted to a life of rationing and making do and bringing up their children alone.
Liz Trenow writes with flair and passion, she has recreated the life of a soldier's wife so well, creating a wholly believable character in Rose.
Despite the advances in technology, travel and the passing of a hundred years, the parallels between these two eras are clear. The fragility of the human brain and body will always remain the same, and the horrors of disability caused by war are still as relevant today. Liz Trenow examines the effect of Post Traumatic Street Disorder on ordinary soldiers and their loved ones, and highlights how modern society has become somewhat more accepting of this debilitating condition.
The Poppy Factory really is a fabulous read. Rose's story is told in diary form which works so well and avoids any 'padding' out - it's straight to the point, and honest. Jess is a more complex character who I was rooting for throughout the book.
Liz Trenow is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in East Anglia with her artist husband, and they have two grown-up daughters.
Find out more at www.liztrenow.com and join her on Twitter @LizTrenow
A little bit of information about the real Poppy Factory;
For over 90 years, The Poppy Factory in Richmond, Surrey, has been making poppies, crosses and wreaths for The Royal Family and The Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal. In recent years, The Poppy Factory has transformed itself into a thoroughly modern charity. As well as providing work for disabled veterans at its HQ in Richmond, The Poppy Factory uses its unique expertise to help its clients find work with many commercial organisations all over the UK. The Poppy Factory has a vision that “no disabled veteran who wants to work should be out of work” and aims to become the recruitment provider of choice for its ex-Forces clients and for employers alike.Find out more about the wonderful work done by The Poppy Factory at their website