by Caroline Leech
Published on January 31, 2017 by HarperTeen
Genres: Historical Romance, Young Adult
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The perfect blend of sweet romance and historical flavor, Wait for Me, from debut author Caroline Leech, brings a fresh new voice to a much-loved genre.
It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?
But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.
A debut historical romance, Wait for Me tells the story of a young woman in Scotland who is introduced to a German soldier meant to work on her farm. This is during World War II, mind you. While an enjoyable read for what it was, I’m not an avid reader of the genre and took a chance on this one but it wasn’t quite a good fit.
Lorna is a young woman working on her family’s farm in the midst of the war when an enemy solider is assigned to work there. I love that Leech captured Lorna’s struggle of treating him as an enemy but also seeing him as a person. It came through as a theme throughout the book and really grounded her character for me.
This book excels at dropping you right into the time period. I can’t say I know very much about this era of history outside of a few classes in high school, so I’m not a good judge as to whether this book is historically accurate. But it felt real, like I could step into this world and understand the rules of society, hear the music, feel the weight of war on my shoulders. While I didn’t think the writing was something truly amazing, gaining a more simplistic tone at times, it was easy to follow and descriptive if not very captivating.
Honestly, despite the authentic feel this book just wasn’t doing it for me. I found the idea nice, a change of pace from involving characters in the middle of all the action, but I wasn’t hooked by the story. This may stem from my lack of interest in the time period, the romance being sweet but little else, and likely that the book read like it was intended for a younger audience despite the character ages (and I simply don’t enjoy middle grade novels as much from an interest standpoint.
There were also little subplots and parts of Lorna’s life that were mentioned but never really explored that I wanted more of. I mean, I really wanted more of the world in general. Character-based stories are interesting for me up to a point, but if I’m not fully invested in them then I rely on the world-building to carry my interest for the rest of the book. And I needed more of that. More details of Scotland, of the impacts of the war on a grand scale as well as on Lorna and her family. Just…more, if that makes any sense,
Wait for Me is a simple, sweet historical romance in a very complicated world. I think fans of the genre will enjoy it for its unique nature and multi-faceted characters, along with its slow-burn love story that really explores how people see each other and the idea of acceptance. Though the book reads at a level for a possibly middle-grade audience, I would recommend this to young adult and adult readers from a content perspective as there is a scene or two that may have potential triggers. Overall, a light read and I look forward to more from this author.