England, 31st August 1939: the world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate which has been opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth ...
England, 31st August 1939: the world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate which has been opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, an enigmatic childless couple. Soon Anna gets drawn into their unravelling relationship, seeing things that are not meant for her eyes - and finding herself part-witness and part-accomplice to a love affair, with unforeseen consequences. A story of longing, loss and complicated loyalties, combining a sweeping narrative with subtle psychological observation, "The Very Thought of You" is not just a love story but a story about love.
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Publishers Weekly, 2011-06-06 This overwrought debut chronicles the loves and losses that beset the intertwined lives of residents evacuated to an estate in Yorkshire, northern England, during WWII. The life of eight-year-old Anna Sands changes forever when she leaves London for Ashton Park, the home of Elizabeth and Thomas Ashton. A "bright and resourceful" girl, Anna becomes privy to the couple's disintegrating marriage; Elizabeth is bitter about infertility and Thomas has withdrawn into his own private grief, unable to connect to his wife. Alison's chosen omniscient point-of-view allows her to chronicle the stories of multiple characters and span whole epochs (1939-2006) which, combined with unconvincing characters, results in tedium. Anna as witness, for instance, is little more than a prop on which to hang rhetorical passages about solitude and happiness. Alison's writing is more than competent (this novel was shortlisted for the U.K.'s Orange Prize), but by summarizing much of her characters' feelings, she fails to engage the reader. This ambitious attempt to tell a meaningful story of the Second World War is ultimately as detached as the characters. (July) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
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