Publication: 31st October 2019 – Simon & Schuster UK
In the aftermath of war, everyone is searching for answers . . .
An epic novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I.
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.
Before you start reading The Photographer of the Lost get ready your tissues, because you’ll need them. I fell in love with this unforgettable, heartbreaking, and evocative story.
It’s 1921, three years after the end of World War I, and yet for many people it’s like the war never ended. There are many many soldiers suffering from PTSD, there are many families grieving their loved ones, and there are many, too many, soldiers still missing in action whose fate is still unknown and, of course, there are people still looking for them. Harry and Edie are among these people. They are looking for Francis, Harry’s brother and Edie’s husband, who’s been missing for four years. Their journey through France between destroyed towns and the discarded items of soldiers is not just in search of the truth, but also a chance for forgiveness and new beginnings.
The Photographer of the Lost left me heartbroken and highly emotional. History books don’t tell the stories of the soldiers and their families, don’t tell the guilt of the soldiers who came home while others died on the battlefield (“Why should I have survived? Why, when others didn’t, did I have the right to come home?“), the loss and the suffering of the families. Caroline Scott created a haunting and powerful story that evocatively portrays this side of history I didn’t know much about.
As Harry and Edie try to find out more about Francis’s fate, they meet other people who are looking for their loved ones, they meet English soldiers who, after the war, couldn’t face going home or didn’t want to leave behind those who died there. Harry is not only looking for his brother, he is also taking pictures of graveyards. This part of the story hit me and left in tears. Parents, wives, brothers, and sisters who didn’t have the chance to go over to France and visit the place where their loved ones are buried, paid Harry to take a picture of their last resting place.
As I said, grab the tissues and settle down for an beautiful, moving, and captivating story that you won’t be able to put down.
A huge thank you to SJ Virtue and Simon & Schuster for providing me with a proof copy of this brilliant novel.