Publisher: William Morrow
Source: Personal Copy
Lily is the daughter of an Earl, and not the type of girl her mother wants her to be. It’s 1914, war is looming and her mother wants her to take her place within society and try to secure herself with a good marriage. Her world is divided by class, but Lily wants to marry for love, she dreams of having a career, and traveling the world. Her mother is appalled by her actions and ideas. Lily and her brother’s friend Robert seem to hit it off at a party, but her mother quickly puts a stop to this. Robert grew up in poverty, and graduated on scholarship. Robert may be a doctor but his background will never be forgotten by her mother.
When the war breaks out, Lily doesn’t want to just sit idle and knit. She goes against her parents wishes, accepts their threat to disown her, and she leaves home. She is determined to put her driving skills to good use, and become an ambulance driver. Eventually Lily earns her position as a driver, and is stationed at a field hospital in France, reunited with Robert. While their relationship never progressed passed friendship, Lily is drawn to Robert. She must convince him that she is not above him in any way, and certainly not out of bounds for him.
I really enjoyed Jennifer Robson’s debut. Lily is a strong, independent character, and for Downton fans she will remind you of Lady Sybil. Although this novel has been repeatedly compared to Downton, the novel is able to stand on it’s own. The plot is original and captivating. I really don’t like when novels are compared to whatever is popular at the moment. I don’t think the comparison is necessary, Somewhere in France really stands on its own.
The relationship between Lily and Robert is complicated, and the war puts further strain on their relationship, at any time they could be attacked and lose one another. Robert is afraid to cross the friendship line, he knows that after the war Lily will still be Lady Elizabeth Neville-Ashford, and his best friend is her brother.
Robson’s doesn’t spare readers the graphic scenes that Lily encounters as an ambulance technician. Readers can really grasp the dire situation, and the long arduous days those in the medical field endured. As a historical fiction novel, she really delivers and engages the imagination. Overall, I highly recommend this one for fans of historical fiction, and/or romance.