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In Memoriam by Alice Winn

In Memoriam by Alice Winn

As you know, I have a special interest in the First World War in Belgium. So when “In Memoriam” by Alice Winn appeared in my local library, I eagerly snatched it up and read it in less than a week. I was not disappointed. It’s a wonderful book. It’s not entirely set in Belgium: Ypres features heavily but so do the battles of Loos and the Somme in France.

But what sets this book apart from other fictional accounts of the First World War are the plot and the two main characters. We meet Henry Gaunt and Sidney Ellwood in June 1914 as teenagers at Preshute school, a fee-paying establishment modelled on Marlborough where the author was educated. They are close friends, but recognize deeper feelings for each other – forbidden of course at that time (and tragically still today in some countries).

The war brings them both to the frontline, and here we see the effect of the brutality and the butchery among the mud of Flanders and north-west France on their lives, their mental and physical well-being, and their relationship.

In essence, it’s a book of love and passion, of violence and death, of hope and fear. The prose races along, and includes humorous asides, moonlit flits from a POW camp, raw descriptions of the utter insanity of the war, and unremitting suspense right up to the final page.

And as a description of two people in love with each other, in the most challenging environment imaginable, it’s unforgettable.

In Memoriam is the Waterstone’s Book of 2023. Here’s an interview with author Alice Winn.

If you read it, I’d love to hear your thoughts below.

8 thoughts on “In Memoriam by Alice Winn”

  1. Feeling a bit raw about the ” utter insanity of war” at the moment.( Will order book in
    the hope bringing season known as Spring)

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