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Download Song of Songs epub

by B. Hughesdon

Download Song of Songs epub
ISBN: 0099538202
ISBN13: 978-0099538202
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Genre Fiction
Author: B. Hughesdon
Language: English
Publisher: Random House of Canada, Limited; New Ed edition (1995)
Pages: 816 pages
ePUB size: 1370 kb
FB2 size: 1714 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 886
Other Formats: txt lrf docx lit

I have loved this book from when I was young. When it arrived from Amazon....I read it cover to cover again. So many memories. Well worth the read.
One of the most powerful and poignant novels set around the Great War.
I love novels that take a reader from peacetime Edwardian England into the Great War and beyond. The brief description I found of this novel's plot: the life and times of an English noblewoman who serves as a nurse at the Front, sounded so intriguing.

I was disappointed when I opened the book and realized that this novel is written in the first person. I read the Author's Note - she states her desire to bring the voices of the Great War alive; that she's had a special interest in the era since her childhood. All well & good, but... I felt a little niggle of dismay. Her emotion in the Author's Note worried me - I didn't get the impression from her fervency that Ms. Hugheson was going to maintain her emotional distance from this woman's story. Unfortunately I was proven right.

I have to partially agree with the professional review from Library Journal that's posted here on Amazon. And I have to strive to be impartial, because I really dislike books written in the first person. Because that's a strictly personal dislike, I tried my hardest to put it aside and just concentrate on the book's content. I think I succeeded, and I think I'm being fair when I say this book would only have been stronger for being in the third-person.

Quite a bit of the time, the main character, Lady Helena, is much less interesting than the people around her. To give Helena credit her character does grow & change during the course of the story, but I still would say that Helena's EXPERIENCES are more interesting than Helena, herself, is. I kept wanting the POV of Ben, Helena's eventual husband; the POV of Helena's mother; etc. I was always wanting to know more about the supporting characters, but not through the narrow window of Helena's reactions to and her thoughts about them.

I couldn't help but recall DH Lawrence's "John Thomas and Lady Jane" while reading the description of Ben and Helena's marriage. Ms. Hughesdon, while actually a competent and good writer, doesn't come close to DH Lawrence's depiction of the interaction (sexual and otherwise) between the lower-born man and the aristocratic woman; his grasp of the class system makes his writing seem so much more "true", or at least accurate, about relations between the classes (and the sexes) in the post-WWI England. DH Lawrence's novel was shocking at its time of publication because of the relationship it portrayed. It wasn't just the sexual acts it described that caused the shock - it was the relationship it portrayed between the lower-class man with the higher-class woman that also caused waves when it was published.

With Lawrence's book in mind (a book which was actually written at the time Ms. Hughesdon is trying to depict), I felt Lady Helena's decision, given her upbringing and position as the daughter of an Earl, to marry a man with NO position (a working class sergeant from the lower ranks) was implausible. Given the very real barriers that existed between the classes even after WWI (which bent, but did not break these barriers), Helena's marriage to Ben would not have occurred. Or, if a relationship did occur, it wouldn't have ended with a marriage. Even given Helena's nervous breakdown; her parents' lack of interest in her, and her poor mental state after the war, the class divide remained too strong. The family would have closed ranks around Helena, and Ben would have been sent packing. I didn't feel Ms. Hughesdon was on solid ground when she had Helena and Ben marry with the blessing of Helena's family. That was the first "oh come on!" moment for me.

Helena had been a nurse at the Front, in one of the worst wars ever waged. I think, despite her insecurities and poor mental condition, as a British aristocrat of that era, raised to believe she was of higher value than anyone else, Helena would have had assertiveness; backbone. But she's a weak, insecure and timid character from the beginning of this story almost to its very end. At least by the end, she has finally made up her mind to stick with Ben, to really love him and bear his child. But Helena's willy-nilly, initial thought, after her first sexual encounter with Ben, is: "Let me let my body make the decision, not my mind." How typical of her weakness as a person, and how unappealing. She keeps this attitude in force during most of the marriage, until just before giving birth and then, finally, undergoing a change of heart and mind toward Ben.

Ms. Hughesdon couldn't seem to make up her mind just how to portray Ben. He's a rough working-class husband who will live by his own terms - ordering Helena to eat her tea (for her own good, of course); ordering her to get dressed; or, ordering her to open her legs. (He *actually does* order her to open her legs.) However, he's also sympathetic to her singing career; buys a medical textbook when Helena becomes pregnant which he then reads from cover to cover. He also reads Carlyle and Karl Marx while he's off shift from his working-class job. It seemed that the author was trying to make Ben a combination of different men - both a salt of the earth/heroic rescuer of Helena, a man who's better than all those lousy aristocrats who screwed up and left Britain a worse place with the war - but still throws in some working-class-caveman characteristics which are no better than an old Harlequin Presents hero. And touching on that - in one respect, Ben is just not "real" at all: working as hard as Ben works, having to get up at 3AM every morning --could he really have made love to Helena 4-5 times per night? as Ms. Hughesdon has him do?

I realize SONG OF SONGS is a work of fiction, but my knowledge of the social customs of the time and place won't let me see Ben and Helena as "realistic" (albeit fictional) people living during the era that the author was trying to depict. As characters, they are false; their life together is too. And the author compounds her mistakes by only giving the reader Helena's POV and thoughts; she's too weak and confused a character to make this story memorable.
Read this fast-paced account of life before, during and after WW1 through the eyes of Lady Helena Girvan, who is raised in the traditional upstairs nursery, along with her twin baby brothers in a wealthy upper class family. Helena is sent to Germany to study, and on her return pines for her true love and begins nursing in London.
You will feel the love, terror, joy, and sorrows of the shy Helena as she quietly but courageously works as a nurse in the French battlefields of Ypres, Rouen and Etaples, where only simple remedies are available to the soldiers. The suffering and pain of the injured men will cause you to shudder with sympathy and sadness, all the while as Helena continues to comfort and care for these broken men.
Helena herself is a woman of despair and sorrow, and it takes a special man to lift her from her unrelenting grief and sadness. Another trial of pain and sadness occurs before Helena finally becomes a healed woman, when her frozen heart is melted by the steadfast love of her husband.
This book takes the reader to the places where Helena lived and toiled, where you will feel the heartwrenching sorrows as if they are your own. A wonderful story that you will always remember - a book to treasure forever.
I've re-read this great book at least ten times, that's how good it is!Written with passion and believable warm fascinating characters, it doesn't seem like fiction but a true heartbreaking bittersweet wonderful love story.I enjoyed all the historically accurate times and the lifestyle of England during The Great War. READ THIS BOOK!
Enjoyed this book as much as I enjoyed the authors first book Roses Have Thorns..

Enjoy the period and the story being told.