By William Nicholson
Simon & Schuster, Hardcover, 9781451687132, 464pp.
Publication Date: April 9, 2013
List Price: $25.00*
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From an Academy Award–nominated screenwriter, an epic novel of love and loss and the long shadows war leaves behind.
Summer, 1942. Kitty, an army driver stationed in Sussex, meets Ed, a Royal Marine commando, and Larry, a liaison officer with Combined Ops. She falls instantly in love with Ed, who falls in love with her. So does Larry. Both men go off to war, and Ed wins the highest military honor for his bravery. But sometimes heroes don’t make the best husbands.
Motherland follows Kitty, Ed, and Larry from wartime England and the brutally tragic Dieppe raid to Nazi-occupied France, India after the war, and Jamaica before independence. Against this ever-changing backdrop—as they witness history being made and participate in the smaller dramas of romance, friendship, and parenthood—these three friends make choices that will determine the challenges and triumphs of their lives. But the insistent current running through all they experience is the unacknowledged tension of the love triangle that binds them together and must somehow be resolved.
Written by an award-winning screenwriter whose novels have earned extraordinary critical praise, Motherland is a compelling, page-turning narrative brimming with stunning war scenes, pageantry, politics, and questions about faith and art, as well as quiet, intimate moments of passion, doubt, and longing. Above all, it is a great love story about three people struggling to find happiness and meaning amid war and its aftermath.
“A terrific book with a wonderful understanding of life in pre-war and post-war Britain. The description of the abortive Dieppe landings are extraordinary. The post-war lives of those who survived are particularly well drawn, the characters rich and varied. And there are always surprises. It reminds me of the first time I read Brideshead Revisited. A total triumph.”
"Nicholson’s great strength lies in his ability to make the reader understand and care about his characters; he loves them and we get to love them too. He is particularly concerned with morality and love, subjects that have inspired all great novelists. It is a joy to find a contemporary writer passionately engaged with both. This is a novel worth reading more than once."
-Elizabeth Jane Howard
"A wartime love story in the tradition of Atonement...affecting."
"A sweeping historical epic...won't disappoint fans of classic Hollywood-style storytelling that grapples with life's big-ticket issues...infused with realistic dialogue and fastidious attention to historical detail... will make true romantics swoon."
"Nicholson pays careful attention to historical details. He develops central characters that stir our emotions and keep us engaged...."
“Depictions of postwar France, pre-independence India, and battlefield chaos add scope to Nicholson’s ruminations on love, faith, decency, the choices ordinary people make, and how they cope with the consequences.”
“Nicholson manages not to write a single clichéd sentence…extremely powerful.”
"Masterful, engaging and romantic...his forte is in describing the nuances and complications of relationships and this talent really shines in Motherland. His simple, intense style...is one to get lost in."
"A profound and moving novel; tender and compassionate...there is always, in Nicholson and his characters, however desperate and lost, the small fierce spark of humanity. His great triumph is in creating a love triangle in which we, as much as the characters themselves, can see no resolution, because it is unbearable to imagine any of them hurt."