We That Are Left

We That Are Left

Book - 2015
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Two sisters, born into privilege, are forced to make their way in a world turned upside down by war. One man transforms them both.

1910. Jessica and Phyllis Melville have grown up at Ellinghurst, a family estate fraught with secrets. A headstrong beauty, Jessica longs for London -- the glitter and glamour of debutante life -- while bookish Phyllis dreams in vain of attending university. Into their midst walks Oskar Grunewald, a frequent visitor fascinated by the house but alternately tormented and ignored by the Melville children. Oskar seeks refuge in Ellinghurst's enormous library. Meanwhile Theo, the adored Melville brother, eclipses everyone around him.

The Great War arrives to devastate and reshape their world. In a country unrecognizable from the idylls of their youth, the Melville sisters struggle to forge new paths without the guidance of the old rules. But Oskar's life has become entwined with theirs once again, in ways--both immediate and unimaginable-- that will change all of their futures.

With elegance and insight, in prose characteristically "stirring and seductive" ( The Economist) Clare Clark brings us a new story of a kind of old family whose reckoning with change will haunt and resonate for many generations.
Publisher: Boston, MA :, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt,, 2015
Edition: First U.S. edition
ISBN: 9780544129993
Branch Call Number: F CLA
Characteristics: 450 pages ; 24 cm


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Feb 28, 2017

Two sisters, Phyllis and Jessica, along with their mother’s godson Oscar inhabit a story set in England’s New Forest and the family’s Ellinghurst Castle, in the years surrounding the Great War. Changing times and family secrets with unseen consequences shadow the characters.

Clare Clark deftly weaves a fictional family story with real historical characters and events that made this much more than a Downton Abbey-like tale. I would agree much more to comparisons with writers like Pat Barker later trilogy of ‘Life Class,’ ‘Toby’s Room,’ and ‘Noonday’ or even Ian McEwan’s ‘Atonement.’ Excellent writing, enjoyable reading.

Jul 14, 2015

A 'Big House' book set in post WWI England where a young boy is overawed by the daughters of the wealthy family who own Ellinghurst. It's well researched but a little bit Mills-and-Boon-sy with more than a whiff of Downton Abbey. Nonetheless, a comfortable and enjoyable read.

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