Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own…
An epic novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I
‘Beautiful, unflinching, elegiac: The Photographer of the Lost is going to be on an awful lot of Best Books of the Year lists, mine included . . . it’s unforgettable’ Iona Grey, bestselling author of The Glittering Hour
1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she begins to search.
Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.
And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.
An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
This is such a powerful and heartbreaking story of the families back in Britain, after WW1 has ended, still living in hope that their missing loved ones may still be alive. The year is 1921, Edie has made a pilgrimage to France searching for her missing, presumed dead, husband Francis after receiving a photo of him in the post. His brother Harry had been the last one to see him alive. Badly wounded he had left him to be taken care of, although he said he was sure he would die. All trace had been lost of him then.
Harry and Edie run into each other in France, Harry is employed by families to take photographs of loved one’s graves that have been killed in the war. Harry needs to find out too if his brother is alive to make amends with him about something in the past if he is.
The story drops back to both before the war and during it and the effect on families and loved ones. How it changed people and relationships. It is a beautifully written story but brutal in its honesty too. I felt a sadness so deep in certain chapters and all I could think was this is how it must have been for so many. It is a tremendous achievement for an author to make a reader feel such grief. My connection to the characters was just so intense.
If Francis is still alive what could the reason be that he hasn’t gone home? As the chapters get closer to the end my heart pounded so much. A very touching story.
I wish to thank NetGalley and the publisher for an e-copy of this book which I have reviewed honestly.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
After completing a PhD in History, at the University of Durham, Caroline Scott worked as a researcher in Belgium and France. She has a particular interest in the experience of women during the First World War, in the challenges faced by the returning soldier, and in the development of tourism and pilgrimage in the former conflict zones. Caroline lives in southwest France and is now writing historical fiction for Simon & Schuster UK and William Morrow.
Caroline Scott is a freelance writer and historian specializing in WWI and women’s history. The Photographer of the Lost is partially inspired by her family history.