Author: Owen Sheers
Genre: Alternate history
Topical Arc: WW2
Pages: 306 including an interesting appendix
Copyright Date: 2007
Cover: A woman stands in a field, wearing what looks like an army greatcoat that's too big for her. There are planes flying overhead.
First line: "In the months afterwards all of the women, at some point, said they'd known the men were leaving the valley."
Best part: Richly imagined.
Worst part: Bleak.
Imaginary Theme Song: "If I Could Change the World" - Eric Clapton
Recommended for: Anyone who liked Farthing. Others interested in WW2.
Related Reads: Farthing by Jo Walton, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows, Tamar by Mal Peet.
The Normandy Landings, the Allies' best hope for victory, failed due to bad weather and good German intelligence. Since that day, the Germans have slowly been pushing forward their occupation of England. London is beseiged. And in a tiny Welsh farming village, all of the men have disappeared. How can the women carry on alone? What has become of their husbands and sons? And how will they cope when the German occupation becomes all too real?
This novel is deeply lyrical and subtle. It's haunting. The prose is amazing, the characters are real, from the ambivalent German captain to the young resistance fighter to the village madwoman overcome by her grief. If you don't mind bleak in a novel, you should definitely read it. I wanted a happy (happier?) ending so I can only give it a B-.