Motherland

William Nicholson, Author
William Nicholson. Simon & Schuster, $25 (368p) ISBN 978-1-4516-8713-2
Reviewed on: 12/10/2012
Release date: 04/09/2013
Open Ebook - 368 pages - 978-1-4516-8714-9
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Screenwriter Nicholson returns to the novel with a WWII love story that evolves into a study of postwar marital malaise, culminating in a bittersweet resolution. Marine commando Ed Avenell and liaison officer Larry Cornford, friends stationed in Sussex in 1942, both fall for army driver Kitty Teale. Choosing charm over humility, Kitty marries Ed just before the men head to France, where Ed is taken prisoner—earning him a Victoria Cross—while Larry, showing less bravura, returns safely to visit Kitty and baby daughter Pamela. At war’s end Ed returns a troubled man, struggling with inner demons as Kitty and Larry bond. Neither Larry’s affair with an artists’ model, his stint with Mountbatten in India, or his own dysfunctional marriage disrupts their friendship. Years pass before a sentimental journey to where it all began clarifies past mistakes and offers some a second chance. Pamela (mother of Guy Caulder and grandmother of Alice Dickinson from The Secret Intensity of Everyday Life) narrates from the present, forming the framework in which Nicholson develops his complex characters. Depictions of postwar France, pre-independence India, and battlefield chaos add scope to Nicholson’s ruminations on love, faith, decency, the choices ordinary people make, and how they cope with the consequences. Agent: Clare Alexander, Aitken Alexander Associates. (Apr.)
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