As the front cover image suggests, Dance The Moon Down is a work of historical fiction, following the destinies of a newly-wed couple torn asunder by the outbreak of war. Nothing very original so far, but what makes this one stand out from the innumerable others that I've read is that this novel deals with the First World War, rather than the Second World War which is much more widely covered.
In many ways, the stories of First or Second World War soldiers are identical - after all, there are only a couple of decades between the two wars - but what this story really brings to the fore is the total incomprehension and inability to imagine war on such a scale that both those heading off to fight and those left behind faced. Who could have imagined death and destruction on such a grand scale before experiencing it for themselves?
Dance The Moon Down follows the hardships and heartache of central character Victoria, a young woman who is barely out of her wedding gown when her sweetheart, riding the wave of overly-optimistic patriotism, declares he is heading off to war and will be back soon. Left to fend for herself, she does whatever it takes to earn a crust, setting aside her upper class upbringing and becoming a farm labourer, discovering how the other half live and the privileges she took for granted, such as an education.
I already knew all about the Suffragettes but had never really thought about how the movement tied in with the outbreak of war. The novel gives an intereting insight into the role and lifestyle of women, both in Victoria's original well-to-do circles and her experiences as a lowly manual labourer, before, during and after the war. Other aspects, such as unwavering hope when all seems lost and the great adaptability and perseverance of people going through hardships, are timeless.
It's an interesting and obviously well-researched novel that gives a real feel for the time. The characters did seem a bit too good to be true and the horrors of the war were slightly played down but if you're looking for a gentle, non-upsetting tale of the First World War, it's an enjoyable read.
star rating : 4/5
RRP : £9.99
- Paperback: 300 pages
- Publisher: Authors Online Ltd (4 Nov 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0755206827
- ISBN-13: 978-0755206827
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 1.5 x 21.6 cm
Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book.
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