Jennifer's Reviews > Coventry

Coventry by Helen Humphreys
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Jul 02, 09

bookshelves: 2009, world-war-2
Read in July, 2009

** spoiler alert ** Very few people gave this book as few as 2 stars but I decided not to be influenced by peer pressure. This book does have some enjoyable qualities. Harriet is a fairly believable character. We learn about her past - married very young, her husband leaves for the first world war after only a few weeks of marriage and, of course, doesn't return. Fortunately most of the book is told from her perspective and she carries us with her through the devastated city.

The story telling is interesting when Humphrey's is describing the devastation of war but too contrived in the way that she links people and events together. It's bad enough that these two women, Harriet and Maeve, meet randomly in 1914 and spend a day together without even knowing each others name (how would you never say "I'm Jane Doe" when you invite someone into your house???) then happen to randomly meet again in 1940 in a field on the night of the blitz. And Harriet just happens to have been fire watching on Coventry church with Maeve's missing son! What a coincidence! Lets go find him together and never lose touch again! But there are other devices that the author throws in that act as symbolic book ends to the story - the swallow, the bus, the visit years later to the war site. Many reviewers call this book poetic but I felt like these little devices cheapened the plot and the writing.
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