Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Poppy Wife: A Novel of the Great War” as Want to Read:
The Poppy Wife: A Novel of the Great War
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Poppy Wife: A Novel of the Great War

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  2,298 ratings  ·  490 reviews
In the tradition of Jennifer Robson and Hazel Gaynor, this unforgettable debut novel is a sweeping tale of forbidden love, profound loss, and the startling truth of the broken families left behind in the wake of World War I.

1921. Survivors of the Great War are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many have been reunited with their
ebook, 448 pages
Published October 31st 2019 by William Morrow Paperbacks
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Poppy Wife, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Caroline Scott I'm glad to hear that you've now received the book, Barbara - and terribly sorry that it took so very long to get to you! Really hope that you enjoy t…moreI'm glad to hear that you've now received the book, Barbara - and terribly sorry that it took so very long to get to you! Really hope that you enjoy the rest of it. With all good wishes, Caroline(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,298 ratings  ·  490 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Poppy Wife: A Novel of the Great War
Karren  Sandercock
In 1921. The Great War may have ended, but so many desperate families are still trying to find out what happened to their missing husbands, sons and brothers?
Edie’s beloved husband Francis is still listed as missing, Francis is presumed to have been killed in action in France and Edie still believes that he could possibly still be alive?
Harry, Francis’s brother, was with him the day Francis went missing during the battle for Ypres, like Edie, he’s hopeful Francis is still alive and living somewh
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Caroline Scott’s debut is beautifully written, powerful, and intense. The book takes place primarily in France 1921 with flashbacks to 1917. A story about the aftermath of war, the sorrow and the devastation. The guilt and heartbreak felt by those left behind. This is a piece of history I have not read much about it was sobering to acknowledge the impact of war on both the land and human spirit. It was lovely and heart wrenching to see the hope inspired by the rebuilding of France, all I could t ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
Nov 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Poppy Wife is set during and after World War I, the Great War. Edie’s husband, Francis, is missing and presumed dead after the war, and his brother, Harry, is present the day Francis went missing.

Both Edie and Harry believe Francis is still out there, and each seeks to find him. Harry goes by his work, traveling to take pictures of soldiers’ graves, while Edie embarks on her own journey. Their paths are about to intersect, and will they find news of Francis?

The aftermath of a war and its imp
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was sent a copy of this book by the publisher for an honest review as part of an Instagram book tour.

I really hope I can do this book justice and put into words how great this novel really is. Scott does it so well, putting a devastating and tragic time into words. This is a remarkable piece of work.

Here is a story based around the characters Edie and three brothers Francis, Harry and Will. Theirs is a story of love, heartbreak and bravery. Set at the end of the World War One this book puts
Kris - My Novelesque Life
DNF @48%
2019; William Morrow Paperbacks/HarperCollins

I love the premise of this novel...the aftermath of the Great War. World War I was a war that scarred many soldiers, outside and inside. It was a war that affected more than the soldiers themselves. I found it interesting that Harry was able go to the front and photograph graves for the loved ones still surviving. Harry had been a soldier with his brothers, and was with Francis when he disappeared. Edie doesn't think that her husband, Francis
Moving, powerful, intense.

The legacy of war, in this case the First World War, is a theme vividly and movingly explored in The Photographer of the Lost. There are the traumatic memories of conflict and survivor’s guilt of those who came back, like Harry, the lingering absence of those who didn’t, and the unfinished business of those reported missing in action, like Harry’s brother, Francis. Francis’ wife, Edie, joins many thousands of others hoping desperately for some miracle or, at the very le
The Library Lady
Okay, the story here is fascinating. There are many novels set in post WWI England, but this is the first I have read that focuses on families either grieving for their lost sons/brothers/spouses or those unable to grieve because they have had no closure. Good material. Women searching amidst the ruin of post-war France for their loved ones, going from town to town looking at belongings. Women requesting photographs of their loved ones' graves.

However, poor execution. I know that a lot of revie
Oct 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Poignant, insightful, and profoundly moving!

The Poppy Wife is predominantly set in the French countryside during 1921, as well as 1917, and is told from two different perspectives. Edie, a young British wife who after receiving a picture of her missing husband journeys to France to find him, dead or alive, and discover his fate wherever he may be, and Harry, the youngest of three brothers who endeavours to help his sister-in-law and others find some form of closure even while his own experiences
Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
Dec 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019-books

The Poppy Wife is a moving story of guilt, pain, separation, unanswered questions, dedication and love. It is a prudent novel that easily engulfs the reader in a tale of mystery, belief and heartbreak.

The Poppy Wife follows the broken lives and loves of those left behind by the impact of World War I. Caroline Scott’s first novel crosses two different but close timelines, 1921 and 1917. In the year 1921, everyone is consumed by the aftermath of the war. The w
I liked this book, but didn't love it. I found the story engaging. It's three brothers sent off to fight in WWI. Only one brother makes it back, Harry. Harry is a photographer for a company that takes requests from people that lost loved ones that are buried in the country where they perished. It's a grim job, but he feels it gives families closure.

His sister in law, Edie, is someone Harry has a tense relationship with. This is the crux of the story. We get the two POVs in the story. We get the
A beautifully-written and very sad tale that moves between 1916/1917 on the front line during the First World War and 1921, when Harry returns to France to photograph war graves and battle scenes for the mourning relatives at home. He's also on the hunt for his brother Francis, lost in 1917 and presumed dead but without a known grave. Francis's wife Edie is also in France searching for the truth. But it's the people they both meet on their quests that make this novel so special, many of whom hav ...more
Stephanie Froebel
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amy Bruno
Author Caroline Scott has taken my heart and tore it into a million pieces! The Photographer of the Lost is poignant, haunting and memorable and one of my top reads of the year.

One day Edie receives a mysterious letter in the post. There's no note, no explanation, only a photograph of her husband Francis that she has never seen before. Francis has been missing for four years after going MIA in the Great War. The photo confuses her but also revives her hope that he may still be alive.

Francis' br
Sep 09, 2019 rated it liked it
Wartime, lasting heartache, and unconditional love.

I rate this book a 3/5

This was my first Caroline Scott novel and I was hooked from the very first page. The introduction was so strong and immediately made you feel as if you were apart of the story. Caroline Scott delivered a true anecdote of the harsh reality many faced during times of war. The storyline itself was very real and held lots of emotion. You felt the same pain the characters in the novel and individuals alike felt during this wart
Marguerite Kaye
Mar 11, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A poignant and moving story dealing with a very difficult time in history, and one often ignored. Northern France has been devastated, and is trying to rise from the ashes of destruction caused by the First World War. But not everyone can move on. This is a story about two people trying to reconcile themselves to loss and to the feelings they have for each other which are forcing them apart when it's obvious they are desperate to be together.

How do you mourn when you can't be sure that the pers
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
Was it so wrong to feel that she had been treated unfairly? That she'd been judged and damned and had not had the right to defend herself?

I stayed up until 1am to finish this novel, set in 1921, following a veteran and a widow of World War I. It had shades of Graham Greene and Alfred Hitchcock, too: a vague menace stalking our main characters, who were trying to find peace in a Europe looking to neatly memorialize what had happened.

I've mostly given up novels set in eitherWorld War I or World W
Susan Hampson
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
This is such a powerful and heartbreaking story of the families back in Britain, after WW1 has ended, still living in hope that their missing loved ones may still be alive. The year is 1921, Edie has made a pilgrimage to France searching for her missing, presumed dead, husband Francis after receiving a photo of him in the post. His brother Harry had been the last one to see him alive. Badly wounded he had left him to be taken care of, although he said he was sure he would die. All trace had been ...more
Sep 16, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020
This book will make you prepared for that. The entire time I was reading this, I felt melancholy. The people trying to find answers and searching for their lost loved ones after The Great War just reminds us how much we don’t really know about the after effects of war. I felt the despair and desperation from these characters. Several times I had tears in my eyes. A very sad and haunting read.
Linda Hill
Nov 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The end of WW1 is just the beginning of the search for missing loved ones for so many families.

I’ve been sitting here some time wondering how to do justice to Caroline Scott’s wonderful, heartbreaking and unforgettable The Photographer of the Lost. I think I might find it impossible to convey what a beautifully written, moving and profound book it is. I had thought I might have had enough of reading about WW1, but The Photographer of the Lost transcends just about everything else I’ve read about
Karen Mace
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I don't even know where to begin with my thoughts on this book - other than that I adored every single blooming page!! I found it to be such a stunning read that really captured the atmosphere of the time, the grief shared by so many and the limbo that many families were left feeling after the First World War when their loved ones were missing in action. At a time when many were celebrating the War being over, many were left with so many unanswered questions with no word on the missing soldiers ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
A story of love, loss, guilt, and hope, The Poppy Wife is a moving and poignant debut from Caroline Scott.

Three years after the end of the Great War, Edie receives a photograph of her husband in the mail. There is no note with the photo, in which Edie thinks Francis looks much older than when she saw him last just months before he was declared missing in action, and only a blurred French postmark provides any clues as to its origin. Unable to ignore the possibility her husband somehow survived t
I am really glad I read this book. It is thoroughly haunting and so beautifully written. It spends a lot of time considering what life was like for those left behind at the end of war and it really made me think quite deeply about those left at the end of the war, what they went through and had to come to terms with in order to just exist.

The story looks at two characters in particular the first being Harry a soldier who survived that war and now makes his money going over the battle sites to ph
Harry Blythe is a World War I veteran who is the only one of three brothers who returned to England after the war. Harry suffers from what we now refer to as PTSD. In an attempt to help other families who have lost sons or husbands, Harry returns to France to find information about, and take photos of the graves of soldiers who were killed or labeled as missing in action.

Even though Harry has witnessed the death of both of his brothers, his sister in law, Edie, holds out hope that her husband, F
Alex (ReadingBetweenTheNotes)
I was immediately hooked by the prologue of this one (which you can read on my blog if you are interested!) The writing flows absolutely beautifully and I was completely swept away in the story. The setting was conjured so effortlessly; I could picture every desolate French field and every detail in Edie’s Lancashire home.

The author made me feel for every single character in this book, even those we only meet in passing. I totally felt like I was on this journey with them. And wow, was it an emo
Emma Shaw
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Photographer of the Lost is a soulful, poignant, haunting and immersive debut novel. It is a story of sorrow and hope that highlights a part of history rarely remembered; the thousands who simply vanished.

Brothers Francis, Will and Harry all fought together in France during World War I, but Harry was the only one to return home. He carries the guilt of this every day and has never felt able to settle there again. Instead, he travels taking photographs of graves for the families of those kill
Jessica Gilmore
Jul 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I think about the period between the wars, I tend to think of Bright Young Things, cocktails and jazz, Bertie Wooster, Jarrow and depression, The Remains of the Day, people moving on in every way from the WW1, in hemlines and music and food and social mores. Golden Age crime and glamorous rail travel, cucumber sandwiches and red lipstick. I don't think about what it must have been like picking up the pieces after four years of devastation. At least, I hadn't until I read The Photographer of ...more
A Book Lover's Emporium Book Blog
The storyline of this book makes for an interesting read. I have read plenty about the conflict itself but what it was like after the war for the survivors and the relatives of the survivors and the deceased or lost was certainly an eye-opener.

This is an emotional read and I certainly felt for the characters and the events which cause their whole lives to implode. It certainly brought home what it must have been like to endure the events and the aftermath of WW1.

The story is told in multiple poi
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It's hard to find the word to review this book because it's haunting, heartbreaking and it's one those story that remains in your mind.
It's about family, relationship, and the suffering of a lot families that had no news of their relatives that went missing during the war.
The writer is a master storyteller and it's amazing how well she describes this less known moment of the afterworld. There's a lot of food for thought and I learnt a lot about this less known part of the European history.
The ch
Lel Budge
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anne-cater
Set in 1921, the Great War is over, but with so many men missing their families are in a kind of limbo, not knowing if they’re, sons, brothers or husbands are alive or dead.

Edie’s husband, Francis is reported missing …could he still be alive somewhere?

Francis’ brother, Harry is a photographer, himself suffering PTSD after his own experiences during the war. He takes photos of soldiers graves, to send back to families to give them a form of closure.

When Edie searches for Francis, she meets Harry
Janilyn Kocher
Oct 13, 2019 rated it really liked it
The Poppy Wife was a decent read. A wife gets a picture of her husband, whom she believed died in WWI. She ventures to France to trace the picture and investigate what happened to her husband. Her brother-in-law makes the same journey. There are flashbacks to the war and the brothers' story. The story dragged in the middle and my attention wandered. It was an ok read, but it was rather slow. Thanks to Edelweiss for the advance read. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Tuesday Mooney Talks to Ghosts
  • The Other Daughter
  • Expectation
  • Bone China
  • Shelf Life
  • Christmas at Miss Moonshine's Emporium
  • The Family Upstairs
  • Confessions of a Bookseller
  • Eight Hours From England (Imperial War Museum Wartime Classics)
  • What Happens Now?
  • The Paris Girl
  • 17 Church Row
  • Akin
  • Darling Rose Gold
  • I Will Make You Pay
  • Little Siberia
  • Breaking & Mending: A Doctor’s Story of Burnout and Recovery
  • The Christmas Spirits on Tradd Street (Tradd Street, #6)
See similar books…
After completing a PhD in History, at the University of Durham, Caroline Scott worked as a researcher in Belgium and France. She has a particular interest in the experience of women during the First World War, in the challenges faced by the returning soldier, and in the development of tourism and pilgrimage in the former conflict zones. Caroline lives in southwest France and is now writing histori ...more

Related Articles

Sally Thorne, author of The Hating Game and 99 Percent Mine, explores what it means to take risks for love, and for yourself, in her newest...
84 likes · 9 comments
“You can't give me this."
"Yes, I can. It's mine to do with as I choose, and I choose to give it to you. I can't vouch for its luck-delivering properties, but it can't do any harm, can it?"
"No." He looked at the gray metallic medal in his palm. The ribbon was still warm. He closed his fingers around it. "I want to say something to you. If I don't say it now, I might never say it."
She looked down as she shook her head. "Harry-"
"I am permitted to make a fool of myself because I might die tomorrow."
"Tomorrow? In Altrincham?"
"I'm not being literal."
"You are being dramatic." Edie pushed her hair behind her ears and put the beret back on. She smiled at him and widened her eyes. "You might not die tomorrow, and then what a fool would you feel?"
"Edie, please, let me be serious."
"No, because you will say something that you regret. And then I will say things that I regret."
"Will you?"
"I have to get my bus," she said. "Saint Christopher protects travelers. Now you'll always be able to find your way back to me, won't you?"
"I will. You know I always will."
"Don't really stop writing to me, will you?"
"How could I? I promise; I won't ever stop.”
More quotes…