Today I'm taking a moment to remember my kind-of-Grandfather - Arthur Cosby Bowden who was my grandmother's first husband. By all accounts he was a kind man, smart and ambitious and he died in Italy on the march to Rome leaving behind a wife and 8 month old baby girl. He's buried far from home in the American Cemetery in Florence.
I also want to take a moment to think of all the families - past, present and future - whose timelines will forever be measured in before the knock on the door or the phone rang and after the got the news.
The Poppy Factory by Liz Trenow
Rating: 4 Stars
Description: Jess's transition into real life after serving as a medic in Afghanistan wasn't the easy step she thought it would be. She finds her self trapped by her memories and lashing out at those she loves.
After a much earlier war Rose struggles with her husband's return which hasn't been quite what she expected.
Divided by 100 years can Rose's diary help Jess find her way?
Why I Picked This Book: The Forgotten Seamstress (review here) was one of my favorite books of 2014 and I was excited to see more from Trenow.
My Impression: I'm always a little scared to start a book by an author that I've really loved because I worry they'll let me down. I'm very pleased to say that Trenow didn't let me down! There are some similarities to this and The Forgotton Seamstress. Both books involve 2 different timelines which each featuring a strong woman in a challenging situation. The present timeline is told as it's happening whereas the older timeline is told in some narrative form - recordings in The Forgotten Seamstress and diary entries in The Poppy Factory. But while the framework is similar the feel of the book is completely different.
I connected with Jess right away. She's an interesting character and while she makes some terrible choices it's easy to understand why. Trenow does a good job making her sympathetic even when I wanted to reach into the book, grab Jess by the shoulders and give her a good shake. Not only did I hurt for her but I felt so sorry for Nate and Jess's parents as they were doing their absolute best to help her.
We get Rose's story in diary entries which isn't always a good thing for me. In this case I never had any difficulty connecting to Rose or getting a sense of her voice. It was a bit heartbreaking to watch Rose's optimism be replaced with worry and fear but I couldn't help but admire her.
Before reading this I wasn't aware the The Poppy Factory existed but I was interested to learn that this actually exists.
I enjoyed this as much as The Forgotten Seamstress though there were a few places that felt just a little too long. This wasn't the easiest of reads giving the intense emotional issues but I felt that it was a worthwhile read.
Would I Read More of this Series/Author?: Definitely! I love how Trenow weaves 2 different timelines together so smoothly.
Would I Recommend this Book?: Absolutely. If you enjoy books with vivid characters I think you would enjoy this book.