(…yes, I am sorry about that pun in the title, I know it’s cringeworthy… but this soon-to-be-released novel from Elizabeth Buchan is well worth a read!)
I Can’t Begin To Tell You by Elizabeth Buchan tells the story of various characters during the Second World War as they try to come to terms with wartime existence and, each in their own ways, fight for freedom and hope. It touches upon relationships between family members and how these are tested when allegiances between the Germans and the allies were brought into question, and also the contribution, no matter how small, that so many different people had towards the war effort. Without giving too much away, it is really refreshing to read a novel that centres on military intelligence and espionage and in which the majority of the protagonists are women – and strong women at that, who may in some ways be flawed but are all the more admirable for it! Let me hear a cheer for strong women!
The novel completely drew me in from the moment I picked it up, and Elizabeth Buchan’s fantastic writing immersed me completely in wartime life, with its ups and many downs. I felt that the novel flows really well and the language she uses fits the tone if the novel really well.
I always find books about life during the war really interesting, particularly when it focuses on narratives that are a little different. Life for Kay, Tanne, Mary and the many other characters fits into this category as a book that offers something different, particularly as it takes the reader outside of the usual London setting (although part of the novel is based there, and it’s still very interesting) to Denmark. It made me consider what life was like for those in a Nazi-occupied country, as well as for those in Britain.
Though at times the pace slowed a little, and some parts I had to re-read to make sure I understood what I’d read properly, the narrative continued to engage and interest me. Buchan includes interesting, believable characters and really opened my eyes to the undercover, understated fights
against dictatorship and repression by ordinary (and not so ordinary) people during the Second World War.
I hugely enjoyed reading the wonderfully written I Can’t Begin to Tell You, particularly as it addresses the choices women were forced to make during wartime, both in England and Denmark. It was really interesting to be read about the way war affects relationships, both romantic and familial.
I’d definitely recommend this novel, and am looking forward to reading more of Buchan’s novels as a result of this!
Have you read any of her novels? Does this sound like a book you’d like to read? Let me know!
*This was an advanced copy I received for review but I Can’t Begin to Tell You will be published in the UK on 28th August 2014 in hardback.*