The summer before the war by Helen Simonson

amy-the-summer-before-the-warA gentle, sweet and moving piece of historical fiction, The Summer Before the War is set in the East Sussex town of Rye. The countryside is beautiful after a peaceful summer when a young woman arrives to teach Latin, just before the world goes to war. It says much about being a woman in the early 1900s, as well as prevailing attitudes about race, class and sexuality, but it is neither moralistic nor pushing a modern agenda. It did drag a little in the first half, and was tied up very quickly in the end, but I did shed a tear for the characters I had come to care for.

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