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Small Wars

3.36  ·  Rating details ·  1,283 ratings  ·  174 reviews
Sadie Jones, the award-winning and internationally bestselling author of The Outcast, returns with an ambitious, richly imagined novel that confirms her place in the literary firmament.

A passionate and beautifully written tale of personal loss in the midst of war in late 1950s Cyprus, Small Wars raises important questions that are just as relevant today.

What happens when
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published September 1st 2009 by Knopf Canada (first published January 1st 2009)
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3.36  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,283 ratings  ·  174 reviews

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Debbie Robson
Dec 15, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Small Wars by Sadie Jones is the second book within year that I have had to stop reading for a while because I’ve become upset by an event in the book. Both times the effect on me was created by the storyline and the skill of the writer. In The Aviator’s Wife by Melanie Benjamin, I had become so attached to the skilful depiction of Anne Lindburgh that I actually had to put the book aside when the kidnapping occurred. I couldn’t face what was ahead at that point in time. God knows how the real An ...more
Bonnie Brody
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it
Major Hal Treherne first saw Clara, his friend's sister, when he was 19 and she was 17. The year was 1946. He felt overwhelmed by her and within a few years they were married. Hal came from a family where emotions were not talked about and intimacy was as close to him as a foreign language. He was not prepared for the language of closeness and love that marriage requires. During the first ten years of their marriage Clara and Hal were happy, looking forward to seeing each other, passionate and e ...more
Audra (Unabridged Chick)
I have to confess that the novel had me hooked even before I started: as a child, my military family was stationed in the Mediterranean for some years, our first overseas posting.  It was wonderful and a little traumatic -- some of our best and worst memories.  The locational setting of Small Wars, the military family at the story's center, and the era (late '50s) immediately appealed to me and I was so excited to read this novel.

My expectations were met and surpassed.

I really had two reactions
Mar 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2012
A story about wars indeed, but in no way small.

Hal is a British soldier promoted to Major posted in Cyprus to fight EOKA, a paramilitary association against the British rule of Cyprus. It's 1956 and Hal has never seen action, so he takes this post eagerly wanting to put in practise everything he's learnt in the base.

His wife Clara and their two baby daughters join him in Cyprus after two months and while she struggles to "fit in" and make a home out of this foreign place, Hal and his men start
Gail Cooke
Jan 23, 2010 rated it it was amazing
London based author Sadie Jones won us with her critically acclaimed debut novel THE OUTCAST. She was praised for "her lush writing and tantalizing sense of setting and detail." So true, and all of this is at the fore once more with SMALL WARS, a deeply affecting story of love and loyalty.

We first meet Hal Treherne as a cadet at a Sandhurst passing-out parade in 1946. As Princess Elizabeth moves down the line during inspection Hal "knew that she was the embodiment of his country, that he was d
Ian Mapp
Sep 27, 2011 rated it liked it
What to do with an author such as Sadie Jones. I found outcast a pleasant enough read.... enough to make me pick up small wars.

Again - all pleasant enough but is it worthy to continue dedicating precious time to slightly better than average works? There is nothing to dislike - but nothing to really recommend it.

And my list of "authors" is growing the point that I will never be able to take on new one or keep up with the ones that I have.

As with outcast, we combine a sense of time, place, politi
Aug 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
“Small Wars” is set in Cypress in 1956 and tells the story of British Major Hal Treherne and his role in this uprising against British colonialism. Hal’s idea of war is romanticized as is his idea of marriage. Everything seems so perfect to Hal in the beginning of this conflict. But as the atrocities of war become more realistic and more violent, Hal begins to fade as a patriotic officer. This so called small war has huge consequences on his marriage to Clara. The conflicts it creates as he sepa ...more
Aug 02, 2012 rated it liked it
I enjoyed Outcast more than this one. The story concerns Hal, his wife Clara and young twin daughters who move to Cyprus in the 1950s with Hal's job, a major in the British army.

The troubles on the island are well described as are Hal's difficulties in dealing with them. I found the book a little too dry for my liking with characters under developed, secondary storylines vague and a slightly unsatisfying ending.
Kate Hewitt
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is one of the best books I have read in a long time. Absorbing, moving, with well-drawn characters and a fascinating setting. Highly recommended. It's not a fast-paced book, but it completely pulled me in.
Mar 08, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-2010
Nowhere near as gripping as The Outcast. Really wanted to like it and had high expectations, which might not be fair, but I couldn't finish it in the trying to light a fire with damp twigs and leaves, the spark just couldn't catch.
The Cats Mother
Beautifully written but strangely muted, this is a non-romance love story about a young British couple sent to Cyprus in 1956 when the island was run by Britain. Hal is a major whose main role is supervising the hunt for freedom fighters/terrorists to keep Cyprus stable as a base for operations in the Middle East. He has only ever been a soldier and takes his duties extremely seriously. His wife Clara has to negotiate life as an army wife, looking after her young twin girls, trying not to worry ...more
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Caroline by: Jill
Shelves: novels
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm not sure what to make of this book as it wasn't what I was expecting. Although set in Cyprus at the time when the British were keeping order in the late 50s, this backdrop seems to be somewhat underdeveloped. We meet Clara & her husband Hal (Army man) and learn about their lives and the workings of the British army. This was all a bit boring. Then we witness an incident and the book takes a serious turn as it portrays the harsh reality of life under an occupation for the local population ...more
Aug 27, 2010 rated it liked it
This book follows a young Major in the British Army (and his wife) stationed in Cyprus during the British Occupation in the fifties. I found his story compelling--but a little artificial--and hers irritating. Were people really so circumspect about their thoughts and feelings in the fifties? Could such a story really have ended the way it did? At the same time, I thought the writing was excellent and I felt like the picture of the British sense of honor and privilege at the tail end of the Empir ...more
Sep 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Just finished this one and really enjoyed it. It has that same languorous and stifling atmosphere of The Outcast which is wholly in keeping with the setting and subject. The main characters and their relationship are well drawn. To say "nothing much happens" is kind of unfair of me - there are shocking incidents associated with the Cyprus conflict, and conflicts in the relationship - but that's the overall impression the book leaves. If you're looking for a rattling good and gripping read, this ...more
Jun 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
I tried reading this book three times since it first came out. And I finally finished. I was so looking forward to reading this book when it first came I loved The Outcast so much I couldn't put that book down. And this book was disapointing. The first part of the book for me is slow and boring. In part 2 and 3 it got more interesting. But I didn't connect with the charaters Wouldn't recommend this book.
Yumn Nanaa
Aug 11, 2014 rated it it was ok
I couldn't even make it to the last page. This book just is not well-plotted, I was waiting to read about the war, the tremor that they felt as a family, more than half way through I got too bored to be able to continue and just stopped wasting my time on it!
Darcy Stewart
Aug 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
This book sounds like it would be interesting it's not. You think their would be some romance, but is the complete opposite. I didn't get very far in the book because I felt it was pointless. This was a complete bore. I'm glad I didn't even read half of it.
Oct 15, 2009 is currently reading it
I have only just started reading this book and was attracted to it as my dad was based in Cyprus during the Suez Canal crisis so I was intrigued to see what this book had to say about the region he stayed in for a few years before marrying my mum! I'll come back and review soon !
Mari Anne
Feb 25, 2011 rated it did not like it
Mundane and boring, this story of a British army major and his wife who are stationed on the island of Cyprus during a revolution, never really goes anywhere or resolves anything. I skimmed most of this dull book and wouldn't recommend it.
Jan 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I found this a real page turner with characters you really felt close to and at times even I felt slightly emotional, so no doubt Mum will be in floods.
I would have liked a bit more about the Cypriote conflict and think the end could have been stronger, but nevertheless the end is perfectly good and I would definitely recommend Small Wars.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
another first for me as regards this author, and a chance read, as the book was given to me. I know little of the history of the situation in Cyprus at the time of the novel's setting so this book dd enlighten me and really portrayed the setting and the details well. The ending surprised me as regards Hal's decision. it was very moving and well written
Interesting story about the horrors and emotions of the war in Cyprus prior to division, and the affects on military families and personel. Somehow I just couldn't get into the flow of the book, so found it a bit of a struggle. I think it would work better as a film/TV series.
A fairly brutal setting and story, but it felt well-researched (disclaimer: I know nothing about the wars in the '50s on Cyprus but this novel does a great job with sense of place and detailed descriptions) and featured the beautiful writing I remembered from her other novel, Outcast.
Jun 05, 2018 rated it liked it
I really wanted to like this book, especially after reading Ms. Jones debut, The Outcast. But, the story never fully developed and the exposition read more like notes than narrative. Still, I finished it at DIA, so airport read is not a bad catergory to file this book
Feb 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really great fast paced novel
Läsvärt om en naiv yrkessoldat vars psyke bryts ner när idealen krockar med verkligheten. Något fattas ändå i romanen.
ashu alec
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it
It is certainly a well-written book however I had higher expectations because of her debut novel- The Outcast which was brilliant.
Set in the 1950s Small Wars tells the story of Major Hal Treherne of the British Army, who is deployed to Cyprus, where his wife Clara and their two small daughters join him. It is the story of a military life and marriage of that era.

I was interested in the storyline itself but I didn’t feel any emotional connection to the characters - they didn’t have any defining qualities. Also, the ending fell flat.
Zoë Danielle
Small Wars by Sadie Jones tells the story of Hal Treherne, a Major in the British Army who is transferred to Cyprus to defend the colony in 1956 and takes along his wife Clara as well as their twin young daughters. However despite spending their nights in the same bed, Clara and Hal begin to inhabit two different worlds. As Hal experiences the battlefield after years of peaceful work, he finds himself struggling as he attempts to do the right thing. Meanwhile, Clara is not used to the anxiety th ...more
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The Big Bath Read...: Small Wars at Bath 2015 1 10 Dec 15, 2014 03:08PM  
  • Island of Wings
  • The Still Point
  • House of Ghosts
  • The Luminist
  • Devil's Dream
  • The Bay of Foxes
  • In the Garden of Stone
  • Fires of London (Francis Bacon, #1)
  • Your Sad Eyes and Unforgettable Mouth
  • Transgression
  • Where the Dog Star Never Glows
  • A Future Arrived (Passing Bells, #3)
  • Knights of the Cross (Demetrios Askiates, #2)
  • Hostage to History: Cyprus from the Ottomans to Kissinger
  • Bitter Lemons of Cyprus
  • Slant of Light
  • Miss Fuller
  • James Joyce
was born in London, England, the daughter of a poet and an actress. Her father, Evan Jones, was born in Portland, Jamaica in 1927. He grew up on a banana farm, eventually moving to the United States, and from there to England in the 1950s. His most widely acclaimed work is "The Song of the Banana Man". Sadie's mother, Joanna Jones, was featured as an extra in various television series, including ...more
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