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The Poppy Factory

3.89  ·  Rating details ·  811 ratings  ·  123 reviews
A captivating story of two young women, bound together by the tragedy of two very different wars. Perfect for fans of Katie Flynn and Maureen Lee.

For Jess and Rose, the realities of war have terrible repercussions …

2012 and Jess, an army medic, is back home following her tour of Afghanistan. Shell-shocked by what she has seen, she wonders if her life will ever be the same
Paperback, 400 pages
Published September 11th 2014 by Avon (first published August 28th 2014)
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3.89  · 
Rating details
 ·  811 ratings  ·  123 reviews

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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Jess returns home from her final tour in Afghanistan haunted by nightmares from her time at the front. She starts to drink more and more and in the en drives away her boyfriend Nate. At her mother's home, she finds her great-grandmother Rose's diaries. Rose writes about her marriage to Alfie, a soldier in the First World War who lost a leg and return home traumatized by his experience. Can Rose's diaries help Jess with her life?

I must admit that I struggled with this book. I had a hard time gett
Cora Tea Party Princess
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing
5 Words: Dramatic, emotional, thought-provoking, war, love.

When I finished this book, I had to sit in silence and contemplate what exactly I had read. And I read this book cover-to-cover, the authors notes, acknowledgements, the Q&A. I didn't want it to end.

This book is fantastically written with two distinct voices telling two incredible stories in two very different times.

This is a book that I took my time reading. I sat down with a cup of tea and really thought about what I was reading. T
Aug 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
Jess, an army paramedic has just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan and taken a discharge but, haunted by her experiences, she can’t settle into civilian life. When she is handed her great-grandmother’s diaries to read, she finds she is not the first in her family to suffer from post traumatic stress disorder. Her great grandparents’ lives were touched by WWI in a way that not only compared to her own experiences, but reading about them gives her the impetus she needs to get help and mo ...more
Kristin Davison
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it
This novel is an informative interesting look into the period after the first world war. It is a touching tribute to all who have served and are serving.

It is an important look into mental health issues connected to service, and I love the charities are so well represented.

More information about Combat Stress:
More information about the poppy factory:
Feb 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: four-star
This was a beautifully told tale of two women generations apart whose lives share some devastating similarities. I love historical fiction which crosses time periods and entwines the lives of different people, and Trenow is just brilliant at this.

Jess is an army medic recently returned from her latest tour in Afghanistan. Upon her return, she struggles to adapt to her surroundings and begins drinking heavily - and in doing so, begins to alienate her loved ones. By chance, she comes across her g
Saturday's Child
Nov 16, 2018 rated it liked it
Read for the 100th Anniversary of World War 1 and Remembrance Day 2018.
Megan Readinginthesunshine
Jul 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was SO very excited to read The Poppy Factory – I thoroughly enjoyed Liz’s previous novels, The Last Telegram and The Forgotten Seamstress, so I could not wait to start reading.

With the end of the First World War, Rose can not wait to welcome home her husband Alfie from the battlefields, whom she dearly loves. But his return is not what Rose expected, as traumatised by what he has seen – the Alfie who returns home is different from the Alfie that Rose knew and married. As he struggles to cope
Cheryl M-M
Nov 13, 2014 rated it liked it
You can't fault the intent of the story, which is to bring attention to the plight of veterans and the psychological damage they incur during wartime.
Trenow also introduces readers to the story, beginnings and history of the Poppy Factory. Also to the origins of how exactly the poppy was picked as a symbol of remembrance. Nowadays Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is a well known and researched mental health issue. In the aftermath of First World War it was an unknown concept and sufferers were de
Tara Chevrestt
The Poppy Factory is a powerful tale about shell shock and how no matter which war, no matter which branch of the military, no matter what your sex, it can affect anyone. Shell shock or PTSD does not discriminate.

The story goes back and forth between a modern-day heroine who has just returned from the Afghan war and is struggling in her relationships and the day-to-day life of being a paramedic. She's overtaken with rage, drowns herself in an alcoholic haze, and can't stop the nightmares and fla
Jul 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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 com
Oct 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book. Enjoyed the chapters from the great grandmother’s diary more than the ones from the present.
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I was totally hooked on this.

My knowledge of World War One is limited - I absolutely adored the way the story jumped from Jess, a traumatised army medic back from a tour of Afghanistan and her great grandmother Rose, who lived with the effects of PTSD through her wounded soldier husband. This book taught me a lot and I was touched by how honest and enlightening it was. A absolutely brilliant read. My only gripe? The ending was WAY too abrupt - but I refuse to down-rate for that small fact.
Gill's Great Book Escapes
I was somehow expecting to read a run of the mill WWI novel but was absolutely blown away by this book so much so that I could not put it down.

I like how Trenow binds the experience of a young women serving in Afghanistan as a medic, with world war one soldiers. She shows Jess as feeling so capable, so able and defiantly okay after her own experience of being fired on in the field whilst helping the wounded and refuses to acknowledge that she is falling apart with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Stevie Carroll
Previously reviewed on The Good, The Bad and The Unread:

Having read and reviewed Liz Trenow’s previous novel that covered much of the twentieth century (and a little of the twenty-first), I was very keen to see what she would make of an actual war story that covered the same period. As it turns out, the author exceeded my expectations with this one.

Jess is a paramedic, who joined the army to honour the memory of a childhood friend, after he died in combat. She vows to serve one tour on the front
Nov 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I was offered an ecopy of this book by Olivia Wilson at Lightbrigade in exchange for an honest review which I'm more than happy to give. The timing for reading this novel was perfect. I've just produced Oh What a Lovely War for our local am-dram group, was gifted a #towerpoppy and went to see the installation at the Tower of London - all to commemorate the centenary of WW1.

Where to begin? Liz has clearly done her research well. The Poppy Factory was an all consuming read
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

Liz Trenow uses dual narratives to explore the themes of loss, love, war and post traumatic stress disorder in The Poppy Factory, a moving story of two women's experiences of war.

Jess has just returned to London after spending six months as an army medic in Afghanistan. Haunted by both her experiences overseas and the events that drove her to volunteer her services, she is finding it difficult to readjust to civilian life but refuses to acknowledge it. Suffering from flashbacks, drinking too muc
Megan  (YABookers)
I received this free from the publisher via NetGalley

DNF - 53%

Release date - August 28th

Jess has returned from her tour in Afghanistan. She comes home and is haunted by the memories of war, and is struggling to fit back into society. She is bad tempered, she drinks a lot and she is plagued by nightmares. She finds her great grandmothers, Rose, diaries. In these diaries she finds a woman who is struggling to cope with her traumatized husband.

I am in no way suggesting that The Poppy Factory is a b
Paige Watts
Jul 30, 2016 rated it liked it
* 3.5 *

Split into two parallel stories; Jess, a returning war paramedic struggles to fit back into current day society, while Rose, a First World War wife juggles work and home-life with her now disabled veteran husband.

I have to admit, I enjoyed reading about Rose's life through her diaries way more than Jess'. The setting was so much more authentic, characters were dynamic and engaging and the struggles were so much more interesting. While I can't begin to imagine what Jess went through while
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Jess, an army medic, has returned from her final tour of duty in Afghanistan. She cannot wait to see her long term boyfriend and settle down to a normal life away from the horrors of war that she has experience. However, it is not that easy. Haunted by nightmares caused by her horrific experiences on the front line, the joy of coming home quickly evaporates. While recuperating at home, she is given her Great-Grandmother’s diaries who herself experienced the horrors of war - the First World War. ...more
Dawn Lockey
Aug 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book and couldn't put it down. Liz Trenow was brilliant again in her thought provoking and intriguing tale of a snap shot of live post WW1 and how similar it is for those veterans returning from our modern day wars. The time changes but the struggles following war remain the same. Highly recommend this book.
From the title I was thinking this would highlight the ultimate futility of war – the losses of innocence, lives, hope, humanity and even historic treasures, but the title went deeper here – it was a loss of purpose and, in some ways, connection to one’s humanity and purpose that is highlighted. Jess is a Suffolk girl, born and bred, but with the loss of her first crush, and her brother’s best friend in Iraq, she’d dedicated herself to making a difference in lives – so that none would ever die b ...more
Feb 01, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a beautiful heartbreaking and yet heart warming story.

Jess, a young girl from Suffolk has signed up as an army medic. Inspired by her childhood crush who lost his life in Iraq,she is determined to do her bit for the nation. She is now engaged to Nate, who would love for her to not go to Afghanistan, but nothing will stop Jess from going on this tour before she comes back to join civilian life. She has it all planned out. Of course,her stint in Afghanistan brought with it, a whole set of
Andrew “superman” Hamilton
Another fantastic story by liz trenow

The way liz carefully researches and uses her knowledge and findings always makes for a fantastic read and “the poppy factory” is no different.

Starting with the current day events after Jess comes home from a tour of Afghanistan with post traumatic stress disorder before diagnoses she struggles returning to normal life back at home fighting with the effects the war has had on her which drives her to alcohol and anger.

However after finding her great grandmothe
Zoe Ingram
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Thank you to Netgalley, the publisher and the author for the opportunity to read this book in return for my review based upon my honest opinion.

This is the first book and I have written by this author and I enjoyed it quite a bit. The story is told in two parts it’s told through the diaries from the grandmother Rose and from the view of her granddaughter, Jess, who has just returned from Afghanistan where she served as a medic in the war. I like the way this book was told, I like the similarit
Stacey Wendy  Hammond
Jun 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Loved the book from both Jess & Roses points of view & can sympathise, being the partner of a veteran who had his back broken by an explosive during his career in the army & how shell shock or PTSD as its more commonly known can affect someone in ways we cannot understand, as we will never witness or fully understand the atrocities that these young men saw. A beautiful story of love, loss, bravery & determination tinged with the sadness of war.

'They shall grow not old, as we that
May 26, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sarah B White
Feb 19, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Great Book!

This book alternates between participants and their loved ones in the first World War and the war in Afghanistan. The events in the war in Afghanistan are presented in flashbacks of a young woman working as a medic as part of the U. S. forces. The events in World War 1 come from a series of diaries written by the great grandmother of the medic. Both soldiers suffered from PTSD. We learn how these soldiers and their loved ones dealt with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and how they were
Apr 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 star read. I enjoyed this book by Trenow. Jess has returned from a tour in Afghanistan, damaged and angry. As her life unravels, she reads her great grandmother Rose's diaries and finds parallels between her PTSD and her great grandfather's experiences after World War I. Learning about how Rose coped with her angry, hurt husband who turned to drink to cope with his nightmares, helped her understand herself and get the help she needs. A very interesting read.
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Liz Trenow's family have been silk weavers for nearly three hundred years, and the company is one of only three still operating in the UK today, weaving for top-end fashion houses and royal commissions.

It is this remarkable silk heritage that has inspired many of Liz's four novels, including the most recent The Silk Weaver (UK pub Jan 2017) It will be published in the US as The Hidden Thread in Ma