cover image The Poppy Wife

The Poppy Wife

Caroline Scott. Morrow, $16.99 trade paper (448p) ISBN 978-0-06-295532-6

British historian Scott debuts with an unsettling close-up take on the staggering losses to a family shattered by a 1917 Western Front conflict that left “eight thousand nameless men” on the battlefield. Scott zeroes in on British woman Edie, whose husband, Francis, never came home, and the missing soldier’s younger brother Harry, who is haunted by memories of holding his wounded brother in his arms and the last words they spoke. When Edie gets a picture of Francis in the mail in 1921, she questions if he could still be alive and sets out with Harry to find him—or his grave—in France. Scott pinballs this two-part odyssey between 1917, as Harry, Francis, and their youngest brother, Will, who falls first on the battlefield, change from swaggering soldiers to haggard war veterans, and 1921, when Edie and Harry close in on the grim search for answers to Francis’s fate. “Oh, these men and their memories. It’s really not over for so many of them yet, is it?” one woman warns Edie in the disturbing resolution. Scott’s bold novel, inspired by her own family history, is instantly appealing for historical fiction fans. But the timeless story of love, loyalty, and honor will have appeal for readers of all interests.[em] (Oct.) [/em]