The first novel in Kate Williams's groundbreaking new historical series which marks the 100 year anniversary of the Great War. For fans of Atonement, Birdsong and Downton Abbey.
In the idyllic early summer of 1914, life is good for the de Witt family. Rudolf and Verena are planning the wedding of their daughter Emmeline, while their eldest son, Arthur, is studying in Paris and Michael is just back from his first term at Cambridge. Celia, the youngest of the de Witt children, is on the brink of adulthood, and secretly dreams of escaping her carefully mapped-out future and exploring the world.
But the onslaught of war changes everything and soon the de Witts find themselves sidelined and in danger of losing everything they hold dear. As Celia struggles to make sense of the changing world around her, she lies about her age to join the war effort and finds herself embroiled in a complex plot that puts not only herself but those she loves in danger.
With gripping detail and brilliant empathy, Kate Williams tells the story of Celia and her family as they are shunned by a society that previously embraced them, torn apart by sorrow, and buffeted and changed by the storms of war.
About the Author
Kate Williams is an author, social historian, constitutional and royal expert, broadcaster and novelist. She has an MA from Queen Mary, University of London, and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. She appears regularly on the BBC and Channel 4. She lives in London.
a big juicy drama set on the eve of the First World War. TV historian Kate Williams paints a spellbinding portrait of a family clinging on desperately to their privileged way of life GOOD HOUSEKEEPING A beautifully conjured family saga. Fans of DOWNTON ABBEY will love it -- Alison Weir Brilliant - a passionate and poignant story of a glittering family on the precipice of a vanished world. Spellbinding, gripping and beautiful - a must read ... the new CAZALET CHRONICLES -- Lisa Hilton [An] all-encompassing, sweeping epic. It's a book to get immersed in for hours at a time ... powerful ... a wonderful achievement -- Katherine Webb A wonderful evocation of a family torn apart by war, packed with drama and written with a sensitive warmth and fantastic historical insight -- Imogen Robertson An easy read with a pleasing veneer of historical authenticity HARPER'S BAZAAR Celia de Witt is the 15 year old daughter of a German born industrialist and his aristocratic wife who live in a magnificent country house; her elder sister is about to have a grand society wedding. What could go wrong? The First World War, that's what ... shades of Downton, with a dash of Atonement TATLER This is the first part in a trilogy set against the the First World War that delves into the complexities of loyalty and survival as life in the de Witt family is ineradicably changed. WOMAN & HOME The new novel by the historian Kate Williams, is an epic story about a young woman whose idyllic world is shattered by the First World War, SUNDAY TELEGRAPH STELLA Magazine Williams is too good a historian for melodramatic sentimentality; trusting the historical detail, the reader can relax into a well-paced, truly affecting narrative ... Richly detailed, light of foot, Williams tantalises with loose ends and disturbs with shocking shadows INDEPENDENT This terrific saga comes with a fascinating twist ... Williams has a gift for showing how great movements in history affect the lives of people caught up in them -- Kate Saunders THE TIMES Williams keeps her story moving and the result is a vivid portrait of a perennially fascinating period of history. -- Stephanie Merritt THE OBSERVER Historian Kate Williams's epic about the First World War starts in the idyllic country mansion of the wealthy de Witt family ... [she] outlines the tragedy of war but also reveals .. how this first modern conflict changed British society beyond recognition. SUNDAY EXPRESS Kate Williams in a vivid writer, conjuring atmosphere through scents and tastes as well as period props. The enjoyable elements of a sweeping family saga are present, but Williams also develops a sense of the emotional and psychological revolutions, both collective and individual, that were catalysed by the conflict -- Lisa Hilton TLS Wartime-saga lovers will be kept on their toes to the end. DAILY MAIL 'A beautifully conjured family saga. Fans of DOWNTON ABBEY will love it' -- Alison Weir
Number Of Pages: 528
Published: 8th July 2014
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.4 x 4.0
Weight (kg): 0.69
Edition Number: 1