Skip to main content

Review: Small Wars, by Sadie Jones

Pages: 384
Original publication date: 2009
My edition: 2010 (Harper)

How I acquired my copy: ARC through the Amazon Vine program
Set in 1956 in Cyprus during one of the “small wars” that the British fought after World War II, this novel focuses on the story of Hal Treherne, a major in the British army who is posted to Cyprus. His wife and their two small daughters join him there. Amid the violence and fighting against EOKA (Ethniki Organosis Kypriou Agonistou), Hal and Clara find that their relationship suffers.

It’s very difficult to review a novel such as this one. Small Wars is a character-driven novel. It’s an intriguing look at the war a war, even a small one, can have such a strong psychological impact on someone who is conditioned to withstand it. The novel is often bleak; danger and even death are imminent in this novel. And yet the military action is such a strong contrast to the activities of the British colonists (their club in Nicosia and life on the military base, for example). This novel is a beautiful evocation of a time and place. It’s an emotionally draining read; and while I would have liked for the ending of the book to be less drawn-out, I really enjoyed this novel. I’m looking forward to reading more from Sadie Jones, especially her first novel, The Outcast.

At the end of the book, Sadie Jones lists a website on the “small wars” that the British fought in the last half of the 20th century: It’s an excellent introduction to the time period for someone who doesn’t know much about it.

Also reviewed by: An Adventure in Reading, S. Krishna's Books


Diane said…
Thanks for the terrific review. I hope to read thus book soon as well.
Jo said…
Sounds good. I enjoyed her previous book aswell so I'll keep an eye out for this.
Danielle said…
I've yet to read any of her books but I have two on hand and am looking forward to both!
Serena said…
sounds good. I hope you won't mind us adding a link to your review on the WWII book reviews page at War Through the Generations.

Popular posts from this blog

2015 Reading

1. The Vanishing Witch, by Karen Maitland
2. Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen
3. Texts From Jane Eyre, by Mallory Ortberg
4. Brighton Rock, by Graham Green
5. Brat Farrar, by Josephine Tey
6. Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert
7. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
8. A Movable Feast, by Ernest Hemingway
9. A Room of One's Own, by Virginia Woolf
10. Other Voices, Other Rooms, by Truman Capote
11. Maggie-Now, by Betty Smith

1. Middlemarch, by George Eliot
2. To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
3. Nerdy, Shy, and Socially Inappropriate, by Cynthia Lee
4. Music For Chameleons, by Truman Capote
5. Peyton Place, by Grace Metalious
6. Unrequited, by Lisa Phillips
7. Brideshead Revisited, by Evelyn Waugh
8. A Lost Lady, by Willa Cather

1. Persuasion, by Jane Austen
2. Love With a Chance of Drowning, by Torre DeRoche
3. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
4. Miss Buncle's Book, by DE Stevenson
5. One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garc…

2016 Reading

1. The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
2. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, by L. Frank Baum
3. The Awakening, by Kate Chopin
4. Liar: A Memoir, by Rob Roberge

1. The Forsyte Saga, by John Galsworthy
2. Girl in the Woods, by Aspen Matis
3. She Left Me the Gun, by Emma Brockes
4. Because of the Lockwoods, by Dorothy Whipple
5. The Chronology of Water, by Lidia Yuknavitch
6. To Show and to Tell, by Philip Lopate

1. Fierce Attachments, by Vivian Gornick
2. Too Brief a Treat, by Truman Capote
3. On the Move: a Life, by Oliver Sacks
4. The Go-Between, by LP Hartley
5. The Art of Memoir, by Mary Karr
6. Giving Up the Ghost, by Hilary Mantel
7. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Maya Angelou
8. The Great American Bus Ride, by Irma Kurtz
9. An Unquiet Mind, by Kay Radfield Jamison
10. A Widow's Story, by Joyce Carol Oates
11. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder
12. The Liar's Club, by Mary Karr
13. An American Childhood, by Annie Dillard
14. So Sad Today, by Melissa Broder

Review: Forever Amber, by Kathleen Winsor

Pages: 972Originally published: 1944My edition: 2000 (Chicago Review Press)How I acquired my copy:, 2004

Forever Amber takes place in the 1660s, immediately follwing Charles II's ("the Merry Monarch") return of the Stuarts to the English throne. The book features Amber St. Claire, a young woman who starts out as a sixteen-year-old country girl, naieve to the workings of the world. She immediately meets Bruce Carlton, a dashing young Cavalier, with whom she has a passionate love affair in choppy intervals throughout the book. They have two children together, but Bruce won't marry her for the reason he tells his friend Lord Almsbury: that Amber just isn't the kind of woman one marries.

Upon following Bruce to London, he goes to Virginia, leaving her to fend for herself. What follows is a series of affairs and four marriages, with Bruce coming back from America now and then. Amber's marriages are imprudent: her first husband is a gambler, her second is…