Before the Fall
by Juliet West
First let me start by saying I do not like what passes for modern romance. That is the uber handsome, chisel chinned, smooth chested stallion drivel. I’ve reviewed a few of those and do not wish to ever read another. Each to their own.
Before the Fall is none of that, not even close. Set in London’s docklands during the First World War it is the last place you’d want to find Mr Tall Dark and Handsome. What we do have is a real world populated by real people. The story is based on true events from the time. Our hero is not a hero he’s a welder. The heroine is mother of two whose husband is at war. Their romance should never have been, but it was and it tore families apart.
This a work of craftsmanship. A first novel to be proud of. Beautifully written and well told. So much so it was the only romance novel I have wanted to sit and read. It has been well researched not just fragments from postcards joined hastily together. There are copies of police statements, witness accounts and letters from the family all of which build upon the reality of a truly desperate love.
I will not speak of the plot as it is so tight any clues would just spoil it. Juliet West wastes no words, there are no needless side stories just the plain facts all woven together in a rich tapestry of old London. This is not a war story, it is about those left behind: the mothers, the children, the unfit and few white feathers. To read this novel is to see how romance should be coloured in anything else is just shades of grey.
A truly brilliant book and a well-deserved 5 stars.