Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War

Written by Beatriz Williams Evangeline Holland Hazel Gaynor Heather Webb Jennifer Robson Jessica Brockmole Kate Kerrigan Lauren Willig Marci Jefferson
Review by Eileen Charbonneau

Survivors of the Great War (1914–1918) inhabit these stories of love and hope in the aftermath of carnage. Written by nine accomplished authors of historical fiction (Jessica Brockmole, Hazel Gaynor, Evangeline Holland, Marci Jefferson, Kate Kerrigan, Jennifer Robson, Heather Webb, Beatriz Williams, and Lauren Willig), this collection is by turns tart and acerbic (Willig’s “The Record Set Right,” Brockmole’s “Something Worth Landing For”), charming (Robson’s “All For the Love of You”), poignant, and marvelously diverse (Holland’s “After You’ve Gone”).

From a borderland mother’s quest for vengeance miraculously transformed (Webb’s “Hour of the Bells”) to Irish/English animosity overcome by an illuminated family secret (Kerrigan’s “The Photograph”) to birth and death intersecting at the eleventh hour (Gaynor’s “Hush”), there’s something for everyone. Both period and character of the times are evoked with skill, care and understanding. Settings include not only Europe, but Africa and the American South. Some stories are set in the immediate post-war period; others link to two or three generations. For civilian and soldier alike, grief is palpable and affection is transformed or speeded up by circumstances. Do you relish a good story about transformative effects on the wounded of body and heart? This marvelous collection is for you.