On holiday in Scotland recently, I at last found some space to do some reading. One of the books I took with me was ‘Two Sons’, a novel set mostly between the two world wars and yet a novel that transported me back and forth in time and place.
The beating pulse of the story is placed between two families whose paths cross in Belgium in 1932. One, a Lancashire family and the other a German family. They are each visiting the grave of the son that they lost in the bloody battle of Passchendaele in 1917. Fate has them staying in the same hotel and the encounters between them are the cause of tension and confrontation with an unexpected and moving resolution.
Having very recently revisited Flanders, the battlefields and the cemeteries, the locations in the novel were sadly very familiar and I needed no imagination to picture the scenes in the very places I had been standing in only a few weeks before reading the book. There was an added poignancy for me, as the Lancashire family hailed from my own home town of Blackburn. Every single place, every street, every building that was referred to, I knew well.
I recommend this book to those who have an interest in WW1 and to those who enjoy a good family saga. It’s an interesting historical perspective to stand on the ‘bridge’ between two global catastrophic events and to consider the impact of the two World Wars on two families.
‘Two Sons’ by Stewart Gill Owen.
Published in 2014 by the author using Silverwood Books
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