A powerful love story set amid World War-I

Author Alice Winn’s In Memoriam is more than just a wartime love story of forbidden romance, the book captures the ugliness of war, tenderness of emotions, and resilience of the human spirit

This book will make you cry and laugh and set your heart racing all at the same time. Set during World War 1, it is the love story of two moneyed teenagers, who join the British forces during the Great War with great gusto and then watch the whole world around them fall to pieces. Author Alice Winn’s debut novel, In Memoriam, is a powerful journey that takes you inside the hallowed corridors of an upper-class boarding school in England, where Sidney Ellwood and Henry Gaunt study. The two teenagers are inseparable, but a love affair between two men in 1914 is tougher than war. Also, Sidney and Henry do not know how to express their suppressed feelings towards each other.

Alice captures the camaraderie and bonhomie of the boarding school, but she also manages to sneak in the snarls and spitefulness of teenage boys. The two men share secrets and their innermost fears. Sidney is Jewish, while Henry is half-German. But as war clouds loom, and the taunts of his German uncle being a traitor mount, Henry’s parents force him to join the British forces, although he’s below 19 years of age. Sidney follows suit.

The two boys look strapping in their uniforms at the Preschute Military College. They both don’t know what lies ahead – the horrors of the war. Alice’s writing bleeds through the pages when she describes the macabre scenes on the battlefield, the dismembered bodies, and the misery of human suffering. The author writes: “It is most peculiar how grief affects you differently each time.” But she also has the knack to float in lighter moments, love letters, and poetry with lyrical grace like: “I wonder what my ‘In Memoriam’ would say,” he mused. “Vain boy dies in freak umbrella mishap. Investigations pending.”

War spares no one. And In Memoriam manages to capture that in a devastatingly beautiful manner, especially when she writes about family, friends, and lovers trying to search for their loved ones years after the war is over.

The book is a heart-wrenching story of love, loss, and friendship during dystopian times.

The book has received rave reviews in literary circles and even managed to get a place in the world-famous Waterstones bookstore. A front-line display for two front-line soldiers’ love story!

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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