I always love a book that draws you in and makes you want to keep turning the pages. A book with believable characters that you want to invest time in. I recently finished reading Walking Wounded by Anna Franklin Osbourne, and I absolutely loved it.
Walking Wounded is this author’s first novel and I hope it won’t be her last, I was captivated from the start. The book follows a family through two world wars, focusing on the family members left at home. I felt rather poignant as I began this book, as it begins in war-torn Mons in France in 1918. A part of France where my own great-uncle was during 1915, a battle he never returned from.
The central character is the youngest of the family May Johnson, the youngest twin, born in 1919. She has to find her way within a large family and doesn’t always make the right decisions. Her father returns from the First World War as a stranger to the family and much changed by his experiences. The eldest daughter in the family, Edie, perishes soon after, a victim of the Spanish flu that ravished Europe in the aftermath of the terrible war. Just as the mother, Florence, is dealing with her grief, she goes into labour and Stanley and May make their way into the world.
We then move forward to the years of the Second World War and see how the family are fairing. In 1938, a young May had started seeing a local lad called Jimmy, they loved to dance together. A year later she’d agreed to marry him and they became engaged before he headed off to war. This decision, which years later she would admit, was made from pity for him, was to cause havoc and heartache for May and her family.
Jimmy was a hard and weak man, prone to fits of jealousy, and May often found herself on the end of his fist. He was clever though, as abusers often are, and the marks he left were always hidden from view. He’d belt her back to the point where May just blanked out, then she’d be in agony for days afterwards, silently dealing with the pain.
During the war years May find work as a seamstress, starts to enjoy life without her bully of husband being around. She makes friends and forms a connection with her boss. As a reader, you want May to have a better life, to make changes and move on, but all too quickly she gets sucked back into the volatile relationship with her husband. He comes home from the war and meets his daughter for the first time, he expects immediate warmth and respect from little Irene. The darkness returns and May retreats into herself when Jimmy takes his frustrations out on her again. May isn’t able to protect her daughter, who is whisked away by her sister Lydia and her partner Arthur, to the safety of their arms.
Jimmy has May under his spell and she just doesn’t seem able to break free, when he tells her that they are booked on a ship to start a new life in Australia you know it can’t end well. Her family is desperate for her to stay at home, but May sets off with Jimmy and Irene in hopes of a new life as a Ten Pound Pom in the 1950’s
Once there, her daughter settles well, but May has time to reflect on the decisions she’s made through misplaced loyalty. Can she finally stand up for what she really wants out of life and make changes?
I don’t want to ruin the entire plot for you, it’s so much better if you just buy Walking Wounded for yourself. You’ll get immersed in the beautifully written story and you won’t regret your purchase.
This post is part of a blog tour, details of other blogs working on the tour are included below. Some include interviews with Anna Franklin Osbourne, some include excerpts from the book itself. You can read Linda’s thoughts from yesterday if you get a chance.
I can thoroughly recommend Walking Wounded, it really is a wonderful read, I’ve included my Amazon Affiliate link in case you fancy reading it for yourself. Do let me know what you think if you do purchase it.
disclosure: we were sent the item mentioned in exchange for an honest review