It’s time for another blog tour! Today is my stop on the tour for We’ve Come to Take You Home, a historical fiction/contemporary crossover novel by Susan Gandar. I was intrigued by the blurb so I couldn’t wait to take part in this tour. There’s also a giveaway for a signed copy of the book at the end of this post!
Samantha Foster and Jessica Brown are destined to meet. But one lives in the 20th century, the other in the 21st…
It is April 1916 and thousands of men have left home to fight in the war to end all wars. Jessica Brown’s father is about to be one of these men. A year later, he is still alive, but Jess has to steal to keep her family from starving. And then a telegram arrives – her father has been killed in action.
Four generations later, Sam Foster’s father is admitted to hospital with a suspected brain haemorrhage. A nurse asks if she would like to take her father’s hand. Sam refuses. All she wants is to get out of this place, stuck between the world of the living and the world of the dead, a place with no hope and no future, as quickly as possible.
As Sam’s father’s condition worsens, her dreams become more frequent – and more frightening. She realises that what she is experiencing is not a dream, but someone else’s living nightmare…
We’ve Come to Take You Home is an emotionally-charged story of a friendship forged 100 years apart.
We’ve Come to Take You Home by Susan Gandar: Review
Historical fiction is one genre that I’m a little inexperienced in. I haven’t read many at all so whenever a book comes along within this genre I’m always a little skeptical. Will I actually like it or will I be bogged down by any old-fashioned language or characters? We’ve Come to Take You Home, a novel which switches between contemporary and wartime narratives, proved that I really need to be less scared of historical fiction because I really enjoyed it.
The first narrative we get is of Sam, a young girl who really isn’t having a great time: her mother has asked her father to leave, and soon after he is involved in a car accident that sends him straight to Intensive Care. The second narrative happens several decades earlier, during the first world war. 15-year-old Jess and her family suffer from the devastating loss of her father when he is killed in battle, sending the rest of the family into poverty. Jess leaves for London to work as a maid in a Major’s home, working up to eighteen hours a day with no pay – can this life be better than her war-torn home?
“It took me a few chapters to completely understand what was happening, but when I knew how it worked it was usually easy to distinguish between the two.”
I really enjoyed the characters and the depth in which they were written, especially in Jess’ narrative. I did wonder a few times throughout the story why Sam’s perspective was needed, though; I found myself getting far more engrossed and emotionally involved in Jess’ storyline, and less so with Sam’s. The switchover between the narratives was a little confusing to begin with too. It took me a few chapters to completely understand what was happening, but when I knew how it worked it was usually easy to distinguish between the two. The ending was a bit confusing as well and I had to re-read the last few chapters to get to grips with what happened. Overall, though, I really enjoyed the story once I understood it – I especially liked Jess’ story.
Another thing that I liked – and one feature that I usually like in novels – was the quick and snappy length of the chapters. Each chapter is no more than about four or five pages in length and it made me read the book very quickly.
If you’re looking for a book that has multiple perspectives, heart-wrenching emotion and great characterisations, this is definitely the book for you.
About Susan Gandar
My father, John Box, was a film production designer, working on ‘Lawrence of Arabia’, ‘Dr. Zhivago’, ‘The Great Gatsby’, ‘A Man For All Seasons’ and the musical ‘Oliver’. (Click here for more on John ) Our house was always filled with people, usually eccentric, always talented, invariably stroppy, discussing stories. My mother put my father’s four Oscars to good use as toilet roll holders, doorstops and hat stands.
A major chunk of my childhood was spent loitering around on film sets. Who needs an ‘English education’ when you have the polystyrene-coated streets of downtown Moscow, ten miles outside of Madrid, to explore?
But then the years of ‘Who Will Buy My Sweet Red Roses’ came to a rather abrupt end. Reality knocked on the door in the guise of the Metropolitan Line to Shepherds Bush and the BBC. Working in television as a script editor and story consultant, I was part of the creative team responsible for setting up ‘Casualty’. I became known for going after the more ‘difficult’ stories at the same time successfully racking up viewing figures from 7 to 14 million.
I went on to develop various projects for both the BBC and the independent sector. The period I enjoyed most was working with Jack Rosenthal, a wonderful writer, on the series ‘Moving Story’ – ‘That’s a situation, a good situation, but now you need to make it into a story.’
Martin, my husband, was made an offer he couldn’t refuse and we left England to live in Amsterdam. ‘Ik wil een kilo kabeljauw, alstublieft’ will, if all goes well, buy you a piece of cod – I decided to concentrate on my writing rather than my Dutch pronunciation.
My debut novel, ‘We’ve Come to Take You Home’, set in the present and in 1918, a crossover aimed at the adult and young adult women’s popular fiction market, was published on 28th March by Matador.
There’s also an exclusive special offer on the book on Amazon only for the duration of this tour: until August 1st the book is only 99p!