I’m thrilled to welcome you today to my stop on the blog tour for hauntingly beautiful debut novel The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott. Thank you to Anne Cater and Simon & Schuster for giving me the opportunity to read and review this moving and memorable book.
About the book:
Until she knows her husband’s fate, she cannot decide her own…
An epic novel of forbidden love, loss, and the shattered hearts left behind in the wake of World War I.
1921. Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares.
And so she beings to search.
Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers,
Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.
And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.
An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.
About the author:
Caroline completed a PhD in History at the University of Durham. She developed a particular interest in the impact of the First World War on the landscape of Belgium and France, and in the experience of women during the conflict – fascinations that she was able to pursue while she spent several years working as a researcher for a Belgian company.
Caroline is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in southwest France.
It isn’t very often a debut novel comes along that’s so hauntingly beautiful you find it difficult to put your emotions down into words. But The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott is one such book. I was mesmerised from the opening paragraph right through to the incredibly moving and unforgettable conclusion.
It’s 1921 and families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their shattered lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones there are many more who have not. Edie’s husband, Francis, has not come home and is considered missing in action. But then Edie receives a photograph in the post, taken of Francis himself, and knows she must take action and try to find him.
Francis’s brother Harry fought alongside him and longs for him to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. The brothers shared a love of photography and Harry has returned to the Western Front to try to find information on those who are missing or who have died, hired by the grieving families to photograph gravesites and gather news to take back to British wives and mothers. But the one thing he’s searching for most of all is evidence of his brother. As they get closer and closer to the shocking truth, Harry and Edie’s search brings them together in ways they could never have expected.
The Photographer of the Lost is an incredibly moving and vividly portrayed snapshot into the lives of the men who were lost amongst the chaos and ruins of this devastating war. But it’s also the story of those who were left behind, those men and women who were desperate to find their loved ones again. I can’t even begin to put into words the emotional turmoil I went through as I read this book. Caroline Scott has written a book so haunting I know it will stay with me for a long time to come.
The Photographer of the Lost is so much more than a story, it’s a book that brings those lost in World War 1 back to life in brilliant technicolour. They are no longer just characters in a book, they are men made of flesh and blood, who have lives and families, hopes and dreams, most of which were destined never to be fulfilled. It all makes me feel so unbearably sad, an unforgivable loss of what should have been so many bright young futures.
I’ve had a fascination with photographs and photography for as long as I can remember, so Harry was a character I was drawn to from the outset. The title of the book began to make perfect sense as I became fully immersed in the story, and I felt desperately sad for the people who hired him to locate and photograph their loved ones final resting places. His own grief at the loss of his two brothers was also palpable throughout, with the story moving backwards and forwards through time, depicting his life both with and without his lost siblings.
Harry and Edie’s story, when it finally converges, moved me beyond words. This is a book that doesn’t pull its punches and is not one that falls into the trap of over sentimentality at all. Raw, honest and devastatingly real, it’s difficult to find the right words to convey just how incredibly special The Photographer of the Lost is.
Caroline Scott’s debut novel is unlike anything I’ve ever read before and I know it is a book I will go back to again and again. A beautifully written and brutally honest account of a time in history that should never be forgotten, I loved every word of this story that’s full of so many poignant and moving moments that will stay with me forever. Highly recommended.
The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott is available to buy now: Amazon UK
Follow along with the blog tour to see what these other amazing bloggers thought of this impressive debut novel: