My goodness, the world is a different place since I reviewed Carol Drinkwater’s The House on the Edge of the Cliff here on Linda’s Book Bag. Then I was about to interview Carol at The Deepings Literary Festival and was beside myself with excitement.
Previously I have reviewed Carol’s The Forgotten Summer here. I also loved her story The Lost Girl which I not only reviewed here, but about which I was delighted to interview Carol on Linda’s Book Bag here.
Today I’m thrilled to share my review of Carol’s latest book, An Act of Love and would like to thank Carol for ensuring I received a copy and Olivia Thomas at Penguin for sending me a copy in return for an honest review.
Published by Penguin on 29th April 2021, An Act of Love is available for pre-order or purchase through the links here.
An Act of Love
It was an idyllic summer. Until they had to escape.
Forced to flee war ravaged Poland, Sara and her parents are offered refuge in a beautiful but dilapidated house in the French Alps. It seems the perfect hideaway, despite haunting traces of the previous occupants who left in haste.
But shadows soon fall over Sara’s blissful summer, and her blossoming romance with local villager Alain. As the Nazis close in, the family is forced to make a harrowing choice that could drive them apart forever, while Sara’s own bid for freedom risks several lives.
Will Sara be reunited with those she loves?
And can she ever find her way back to Alain?
By turns poignant and atmospheric, this is the compelling new novel from Sunday Times bestselling author Carol Drinkwater about the power of first love and courage in our darkest hours.
My Review of An Act of Love
Sara’s Polish Jewish family is on the run.
I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve read by Carol Drinkwater, but An Act of Love surpasses them all. It’s a beautiful read, perfectly crafted, romantic and exciting so that it holds the reader entranced.
In An Act of Love Carol Drinkwater creates such vivid imagery that I was totally transported to her settings. Rich and varied language caused me to inhabit Sara’s mind rather than merely read about her so that I travelled with her and experienced every nuance of the senses with her. There’s an almost filmic quality to the prose that is sumptuous. I thought this was just fantastic.
A glorious plot blends fact and fiction to perfection with an authenticity I found spell binding. Frequent hooks at the end of chapters draw the reader into the narrative so that it is impossible not to want to read on. An Act of Love is an exciting read too with considerable peril and pulse elevating action, particularly in the second half of the novel. The burgeoning and frustrated love Sara feels for Alain is so sensitively wrought that its intensity gives a feeling of yearning, a kind of tristesse that is highly emotional, so the atmosphere that really penetrates the reader’s mind. I thought the balance of action, emotion and characterisation was simply wonderful.
I loved meeting Sara. From the very first page to the last, I was on her side, desperate for her to be happy; not just to survive, but to thrive. Her bravery, her stoicism, her foolishness, her gaucheness and her determination make her a truly identifiable heroine. As Carol Drinkwater blends her protagonist’s character with themes of identity and belonging, with complete understanding of what it means to be displaced, to be an outsider, An Act of Love becomes so much more than a sweeping, carefully researched, saga of the Second World War, but rather is a rich tapestry of life relevant to all eras and to any person. I found this an emotional and compelling facet of the book.
Immersive, engaging and achingly beautifully written, An Act of Love is a book for the reader to lose themselves in, to travel through time and location until the current world seems to have melted away and they are living another life. I absolutely loved it and think it is Carol Drinkwater’s best book to date.
About Carol Drinkwater
Carol Drinkwater is a multi-award-winning actress who is best known for her portrayal of Helen Herriot in the BBC television series All Creatures Great and Small. She is also the author of over twenty books, both fiction and non-fiction. Her quartet of memoirs set on her olive farm in the south of France have sold over a million copies worldwide and her solo journey round the Mediterranean in search of the Olive tree’s mythical secrets inspired a five-part documentary film series, The Olive Route.