In a Field of Blue by Gemma Liviero was a Kindle first read and despite a confusing and slow start, it was an enjoyable historical romance set in 1922 England. With the slow start of the first few chapters, it felt like Liviero really struggled with finding the voice of her male narrator. Starting out, I thought the main character was female and had to read back a few times in confusion before realizing the narrator was male and named Rudy. That wasn’t a great start. I read a lot and have never encountered a book where the narrator’s gender and name were unclear or confusing. Luckily, Liviero found her footing and I was able to follow the story easily after realizing who Rudy was.
Set in England post WW1, In a Field of Blue swirls around three brothers and their mother. The youngest son, Rudy, and his mother live precariously on the edge waiting for the return of Edgar, the eldest brother whose gone missing during the war and the heir of the family fortune. Their future depends on Edgar’s return, as his death means the entire family estate would be lost to the wildly irresponsible Lawrence, the second born and next in line who wants to sell their home and move on with life. As the third born, Rudy has no claim to anything except the mess his older brothers leave in their wake. When a strange French woman arrives with a small boy in tow, claiming to be Edgar’s widow arriving with his son, the family drama ensues and Rudy begins an investigation into the strange woman, named Mariette, the boy and Edgar.
While In a Field of Blue is classified as Historical Fiction, it definitely teeters closer towards historical romance without every falling into that category. Liviero did a fantastic job bringing forth the emotional trauma of war and presenting it in a way that is both respectful and powerful. This book is worth reading just for Liviero’s approach to mental health. The characters are incredibly well developed, it’s impossible not to fall in love with them, and the backdrop she paints across Europe is beautifully done. The story does flip between four different narrators, and I wish Liviero had stuck to Mariette as her narrator. Her writing was so much stronger and easier to follow with Mariette than the other characters. This book could have also done with some heavy editing, particularly through the first 30% to help with clarity and ease of reading.
Overall, In a Field of Blue was a very enjoyable book, perfect for a winter day snuggled under a blanket. I give this one 3 stars. Incredible characters, beautifully written, needed a lot of help with clarity those first few chapters.
Until next time, happy reading friends!