17 November 2016

No Peace with the Dawn

From Goodreads:
"In 1917, the Great War seems far from Logan, Utah. But soon it will change the lives of suffragette and mechanic Clara, Swiss-German immigrant and LDS convert Trudi, Marine Corps volunteer Reed, and Shoshone seeking U.S. citizenship Joseph. This novel weaves real events with compelling fictional characters into a sweeping tale of war, romance, self-discovery, and sacrifice."

No Peace with the Dawn straddles the line between a really entertaining textbook and an information-heavy fiction novel. As a discourse on the struggles of the average citizen during World War I and how the major events of the time--racism, influenza and pneumonia, PTSD--tied together, it is brilliantly enlightening, giving glorious detail on life in the trenches and life in Logan, Utah, during those years. It is historically accurate and clearly written--obviously, a great deal of care went into the crafting of this novel.

Given that World War I is a war that is rapidly fading from public consciousness, I can understand the authors' desire to make sure that the background of the book's events are clear. If there had been a pop quiz at the back of the book, I would have been more than adequately prepared. However, the overwhelming proliferation of facts often distracted me from the story itself. Also unfortunate is the lack of character growth within the story. Despite the intimidating and violent circumstances they found themselves in, the characters faced very little in the way of personal challenges, and those challenges they did face either disappeared from the story or were resolved by outside forces. There was very little internal struggle, which is the soil needed for personal growth.

On the other hand, I still adored spunky Clara, dashing Reed, gentle Trudi, and stalwart Joseph as they carried the story nobly to its foregone conclusion. I felt I knew more about a time that I had paid little attention to before. For my education, it was worth the read.

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