“The night— it had become our homeland, his and mine. The place where all the rest of the world slept and our hearts found each other in the dark.”
Amanda Dykes ~ Yours is the Night
Sergeant Matthew Petticrew arrives in France as part of the American Expeditionary Forces, an arrival which a war-weary France desperately hopes will help to end the turmoil. Having faced unthinkable things on the front, he is captivated by the sound of a lullaby, sung by a voice so pure he knows he must have imagined it. But rumors sweep through the trenches like wildfire, dubbing the voice “The Angel of Argonne,” a mysterious presence who leaves behind wreaths on unmarked graves and footprints in the war-pocked soil.
Raised wild in the depths of the Forest of Argonne, France, Mireilles finds her world rocked when war comes crashing into the idyllic home she has always known, taking much from her. When Matthew discovers Mireilles, three things are clear: She is alone in the world, she cannot stay, and he and his two unlikely companions might be the only ones who can get her to safety.
Historical fiction is one of my favourite genres, but it’s often difficult to find a story that’s different. Yours is the Night may be set during the First World War, but it’s less about the war itself and more about emotion, loss and longing.
What makes this story captivating is the narration style; there are five different viewpoints throughout. Through each character’s thoughts, we are drawn into their world, seeing, hearing and feeling as they do. They all have their own personality and take on the war, yet together they become something much more. A group of unlikely people, thrown together because of circumstances.
Mireille is a bit like a fairy tale character. She lives in the woods, suffers hardship and sings like an angel… and then meets the handsome Matthew and his friends who attempt to lead her to safety.
The prose is exceptional, with everything from the trenches and woods, to the ruined towns and racecourse beautifully described. The harsh realities of war are juxtaposed with beautiful scenery and delicate humour. Although the romance is gentle, rather than urgent, it doesn’t feel prudish; in fact it is very faithful to the time period and is respectful of the situation.
It’s a stunning novel that tugs on the heartstrings in more ways than expected. Each character has experienced significant loss before the war; it is only together that they can process the past and move forward. Those that survive will be much changed, but despite everything, hope remains.
Poignant, beautiful and well-crafted, Yours is the Night is a story that stays with you, long after the war is over.
I received a copy of this book from Love Book Tours. All opinions my own.
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