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London, 1914. Belle Reilly finally has the life she's dreamed of thanks to a devoted husband in Jimmy and the hat shop she's wanted to own since she was a child. But as the storm clouds of World War One begin to gather, Belle's already turbulent life is to change in ways she never imagined possible.
When Jimmy enlists in the army and leaves for the battlefields of Ypres, her world is shattered and she realises she can no longer stand by and watch, she must volunteer to help the wounded. But her work as a Red Cross ambulance driver in France throws her into the path of Etienne, the enigmatic man who played a significant role in her childhood, and Belle finds herself torn agonisingly between forbidden passion and loyalty to a good man.
But the past returns to haunt her present in other - more unpleasant - ways and Belle's character is put to the test like never before. Can she survive this most brutal of wars with her spirit intact? And will destiny finally lead her to lasting happiness even while war rages all around?
Another stunning book by Lesley Pearse. She is one of my all time favourite authors and i have read all her books to date. This is her latest book, released 2012 and is the sequel to Belle. Not often do Pearse characters get a chance to develop further into another book, but she does a great job here!
Every time i thought that the book was lacking and becoming weak, it turns and there is more drama around the corner! Nothing is beyond limits in this book. Pearse brings the first world war into perspective from the French front and from London - then in New Zealand! I love that the story incorporates New Zealand during this time, this makes it feel so real and intimate to me personally. Pearse uses vivid descriptions, which are so vivid and accurate, it feels like you are there seeing and breathing the same air.
The book takes you on an emotional roller-coaster though love, loss and passion and the ending is sure to pleasantly surprise all readers - and leave them hoping for another instalment of Belle's life! (here's hoping!). I recommend all Pearse's books to anyone interested in historical fiction, Belle is based in 1910 and The Promise is based on WW1 so 1914-1918 time period.
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