Friday, February 21, 2014

Wake, in More Ways Than One

Wake, by Anna Hope
Publisher: Random House
Publication date: February 11, 2014
Category: Fiction
Source: I received a free e-galley from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

1) Emerge or cause to emerge from sleep. 
2) Ritual for the dead. 
3) Consequence or aftermath.

So reads the opening page to Wake, by Anna Hope. The book lives up to its title on all three counts. The story takes place over five days in London, November 7 - 11, 1920, with a few flashes of events in France. An unknown soldier's grave is dug up in France and the remains are sent to America to be buried as the "the Unknown Warrior" in remembrance of all of the MIA/unidentified soldiers from WWI and Armistice Day two years before. It is against this background, the five days of preparation for the burial, that the rest of the story takes place.

Hettie is nineteen and working as a dance instructress in order to support her mother and shell shocked brother. One night she meets a wealthy man who seems to hold promise for her future, until she finds the war's consequences have no limit on who or what they impact.

For Evelyn, working for the Pensions Exchange means daily reminders of the broken men and, by extension, families the war has left in its if she needs the reminder. Evelyn's life, personally impacted by the war, goes by a day at a time without much thought to actual living.

Ada is living the nightmare of every mother - the loss of her child. Not even sure that her son is really dead, Ada lives in a dream state, ignoring her husband and often lapsing into memories. Until one day a stranger comes by and reignites Ada's search for her son.

We watch these three women pass through life in the wake of a war that has forever changed their lives in ways they cannot seem to overcome. As with the last book I reviewed, Paris, Rue des Martyrs, Anna Hope's Wake is a "six degrees of separation" book, by which I mean, the author takes multiple characters' stories and unites them at various points, even though the characters don't always realize it. Also, the main and secondary characters experience the various definitions of wake, as listed on the first page (and above), making the title truly perfect for every happening in the book.

My only beef with the book really is the ending. You pretty much know what is going to happen with the remaining character and yet the book ends in an annoying fashion...won't say it straight out for anyone who hates too much detail being given away. I was still able to enjoy the story despite the ending, but still, totally unnecessary way in which to end the book, I think. (Unless there's a sequel coming, but I didn't get that vibe.)

What are your favorite or hated plot points or tricks an author uses?


  1. I so hated the end. Was wondering if I missed out on something.

    1. The author told me on Twitter that there should be an ellipses at the end of that last sentence. I still want that last scene played out though!

  2. I'm really interested to try this one, as I love a book that can do different "takes" on the title. Sounds fascinating, and I need to know what I think of that ending. :)

    1. It's a good story. Some people like those endings though, so it might not bother you!

  3. I've heard about that ending, but well, I suppose I will discover it by myself because I'm going to read it soon :)
    I'm glad you liked the rest of the story.

    1. It is still a good story, so I hope you like it too! And you can see where the ending is going, so it's not too bad.

    2. OMG I see I said I was going to read it soon, but look: it took me two years (and I've read it thanks to #readmyowndamnbooks!).
      About the ending, I don't know if something was missing in the ARC; it seems so, but anyway, we get the idea of what's coming next.
      And I loved that atmosphere of sadness that the story captures through their characters. They won the war, but they lost everything else. A great book, I must say.

  4. I really love the premise of this one, plus I can't resist the historical aspect. And even if a book has an ending that kind of throws people, I can't help but wonder what it is!

    1. I really liked the historical aspect. The stories crafted around the burial of the unknown soldier gave the whole thing some meaning I was missing from that piece of history.