In Picardy's Fields by Hannah Byron

In Picardy's FieldsIn Picardy's Fields by Hannah Byron
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A master class in storytelling...

In Picardy's Fields by Hannah Byron is a wonderfully written and richly descriptive novel with brilliantly drawn characters and settings. The threads of storytelling are expertly woven in this historical fiction that will guarantee the attention of the reader. Skillfully constructed and set against the backdrop of the horrific trench battles of WW1, this book will have you turning the pages from beginning to end. In addition, the characters are drawn with great credibility and conviction. The story is told from the perspectives of the main central characters Agnès and Madeleine and is a noteworthy tribute to the brave young women of WW1. ‘Through their work and courage, they set in motion the true liberation of 20th century women.’

The book description gives a sneak preview: ‘Baroness Agnès de Saint-Aubin is a young Parisian doctor with a mysterious past. She follows the attractive—but married—Dr. Alan Bell to the front lines at the Château de Dragoncourt in Picardy, where they help battle the horrors of the trench war. When the castle is captured by German soldiers, the war turns personal as Agnès’s secret becomes both a terrible liability—and a mighty weapon. Until Alan is severely injured and her world falls apart… Countess Madeleine, the young go-getter of the Dragoncourt family, is furious that she’s been sidelined to a Swiss finishing school. Knowing her place is in the thick of the action, she runs away to join her siblings who are working as medics at the Château. Upon learning that it’s fallen to the Germans, Madeleine is determined to affect a rescue of the French doctors and nurses held prisoner within. But what can a mere teenager do against the German army?’

This was a fascinating and captivating read that had me immersed from the beginning. The story flowed from scene to scene with ease, and the author shows exceptional ability when it comes to storytelling. There are plenty of emotional and compelling moments in this page-turner that will take the reader on a truly mesmerizing journey. The story unfurls in small acts, at first feeling slight to touch, then building in emotional substance. Into the spaces between the words, the author breathes a pulsating intensity that rolls like a motion picture camera. With an abundance of imagery in the writing style, it makes you feel like you are right there in the story, and that’s something I look for in a good book.

This for me was a phenomenal read. It was one of those books that stayed with me for several days after I finished reading it. The vivid descriptions of the settings, situations, and the people were stunning and realistic. The author’s use of genuine dialogue further added to the overall atmosphere of authenticity.

The contrast between tone and content is a characteristic talent of only a few authors. Byron pays as much attention to her sentences as she does to her plots, shifting or consolidating meaning with the use of a single word. Her writing is impeccably honed, full of juxtapositions and qualifications that help to create a compelling and emotional atmosphere that will leave you spellbound.

In Picardy's Fields had every element a good story should have. An intriguing plot, attention to detail, but best of all fleshed out, well-written and well-rounded character development. It’s one of those stories that come along once in a while that makes you want to read it non-stop until you get to the end. I’m giving nothing further away here. And this, I hope, will only add to the mystery and enjoyment for the reader!

I’ll be looking forward to reading more from this author in the future. Highly recommended reading to all fans of historical fiction and a well-deserved five stars from me. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book.

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