The Blue Bench by Paul Marriner
I offered to take part in this blog tour of The Blue Bench, on behalf of Random Tour Things, I was very glad I did and I was definitely not disappointed!
Margate 1920 The Great War is over but Britain is still to find peace and its spirit is not yet mended. Edward and William have returned from the front as changed men. Together they have survived grotesque horrors and remain haunted by memories of comrades who did not come home. The summer season in Margate is a chance for them to rebuild their lives and reconcile the past. Evelyn and Catherine are young women ready to live to live life to the full. Their independence has been hard won and, with little knowledge of the cost of their freedom, they are ready to face new challenges side by side. Can they define their own future and open their hearts to the prospect of finding love? Will the summer of 1920 be a turning point for these new friends and the country?
This is a story of the after effects of war, life as it continues, love, sexuality, death, birth and the decisions to support those that need, or search for it.
The book is beautifully written and is very easy to follow, it only took me a few days to finish this and with 601 pages, it was a challenge in itself!
The two main characters were two soldiers that have come back from war and survived, one of the soldiers didn’t come back as whole, as would have liked and has secrets of his own, that in time are told.
The story starts off in 1940 with Patrick who as you read on, you find out he is a six year old boy of a lady the soldiers meet, the story continues in 1917 in the war, then follows onto 1921 when the story is finalised with a final chapter in 1941, from Patrick who has now grown up.
Throughout the story you learn more about the other characters and how they become close to Edward and William, how they impact each other and the impressions they place on the people of Margate.
A young girl called Evelyn, starts volunteer work for Alice and Alistair in a café to help support them, as Alice is pregnant and needs support. As a couple they have their own memories and torment of the war.
When Evelyn starts looking for paid work, she meets Catherine and that is where they meet Edward and William, as Edward has music performances in The Winter Gardens.
The story shows the passion that Edward has for playing the piano, to the devastation of his past. As you read on you can feel the sea air on your face, the descriptions are deep and meaningful.
The mention of ‘The Blue Bench’ is made throughout the story and towards the end, you find out what it represents, which I thought was very intriguing and emotional.
This story also looks into the development of the characters, their sexuality, also understanding how we feel towards people and how it affects us. The story is well written and you can appreciate the writing behind it.
I loved reading about how they enjoyed time at the sea cliffs, having picnics and the time where etiquette and dress were very important.
I would definitely recommend this book, it has stuck with me ever since I read it. One for the memory banks!
Buy it here at Amazon.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Paul grew up in a west London suburb and now lives in Berkshire with his wife and two children. He is passionate about music, sport and, most of all, writing, on which he now concentrates full-time. Paul has written four novels and his primary literary ambition is that you enjoy reading them while he is hard at work on the next one (but still finding time to play drums with Redlands and Rags 2 Riches).
Twitter : @marriner_p