This novel is a historical romance which is thoughtful and absorbing. Once you start reading this book, you will not be able to put it down.
Katy Beagle is intelligent, fiesty and wants to travel and have adventures. But women from her social class are trapped in 1914 in thier small lives.
Katy is sacked from her job as a housemaid for cold heartless people. The villagers are living on the bread line and every day life is harsh in a village where typhoid stalks.
Katy doesnt have many options but is lucky to marry \”steady\” Jem who loves \”the natural rhythm of the countryside\” and adores \”flighty\” Katy. The passion they share is very touching, against the harsh realities of their lives and they face a shattering loss together.
The novel is set on the eve of WWI and the novel follows Jem and other young men as they go to France to fight. Alex Martin\’s descriptions of life in the trenches are brillant in their horror. Here the \”gagging stench of death\” changes them all and Jem is \”lifted up of his feet, floating in mid-air as if he was flying…..\” Can the will to survive and a sense of humanity save anyone in this hell?
Back at home, Lionel White, the local vicar is lusting after Katy but she realises that he is a man who has \”fine words but no real courage\” and Sir Robert and his mean spirited wife are left looking \”lost and too small in their big empty house\”. As the twentieth century sticks \”its bloody claws into their insular world\” and their son is killed.
Katy escapes the misery of her small life and joins the Women\’s Army Auxiliary Corps. Going to France, changes her life forever and here she meets people from all walks of life, on an open playing field. In chapter 51 of the book, Katy and her new friends swim together in the surf at the beach and this life enforcing moment allows her to \”feel young and alive\”. Here the screaming of wounded men and areoplanes dropping bombs is forgotten.
It is this sense of hope and survial in the face of all the maddness which is the key to understanding \”Daffodiles\”? The power of nature, love and endurance are key themes in this life changing book. Alex Martin, is a new writer of immense talent and historical observation. And this is an amazing and beautiful love story.