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Motherland: A Novel Hardcover – April 9, 2013
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"Nicholson’s great strength lies in his ability to make the reader understand and care about his characters; he loves them and we get to love them too. He is particularly concerned with morality and love, subjects that have inspired all great novelists. It is a joy to find a contemporary writer passionately engaged with both. This is a novel worth reading more than once." (Elizabeth Jane Howard author of the Cazalet Chronicle)
"A wartime love story in the tradition of Atonement...affecting." (Kirkus Reviews)
"A sweeping historical epic...won't disappoint fans of classic Hollywood-style storytelling that grapples with life's big-ticket issues...infused with realistic dialogue and fastidious attention to historical detail... will make true romantics swoon." (Booklist)
"Nicholson pays careful attention to historical details. He develops central characters that stir our emotions and keep us engaged...." (Library Journal, starred review)
“Depictions of postwar France, pre-independence India, and battlefield chaos add scope to Nicholson’s ruminations on love, faith, decency, the choices ordinary people make, and how they cope with the consequences.” (Publishers Weekly)
"Intelligently scrumptious." (The Daily Mail)
“Nicholson manages not to write a single clichéd sentence…extremely powerful.” (The Spectator)
"Masterful, engaging and romantic...his forte is in describing the nuances and complications of relationships and this talent really shines in Motherland. His simple, intense style...is one to get lost in." (Red Online)
"A profound and moving novel; tender and compassionate...there is always, in Nicholson and his characters, however desperate and lost, the small fierce spark of humanity. His great triumph is in creating a love triangle in which we, as much as the characters themselves, can see no resolution, because it is unbearable to imagine any of them hurt." (Clare Clark The Guardian)
Top Customer Reviews
I found the book a little slow in getting started, but eventually, when the main characters have been established and their qualities and seminal experiences taken place, the story grabs you. What I truly wish for for this entertaining novel (but doubt will come to pass) is a new title ("Motherland" doesn't really frame the tale all that well) and a new cover illustration (the current one is hilariously misleading). A good read.
If you are looking for another read the caliber of "Sarah's Key" or "The Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet", this book will disappoint. However, I did see some parallels in "The Lost Wife" and "Motherland".
There were multiple themes in the book but some just sounded worn lacking little originality and unsuccessful towards making the book a masterpiece. I'll try to not spoil the book in my examples. Ed is a war hero, bitter at the waste of human life that he saw in battle. His anger was so extreme, that in the midst of the battle he saves ten others believing that in doing, so he would die and leave a legacy. However, he returns alive with barely a scratch; his bitterness and travail increase into what are quite obviously symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. His response is to close off emotionally from all others and develops severe alcoholism. He also escapes by spending his days walking the countryside. After a conversation with a friend, he decides to become two Eds, the suffering Ed and the happy go lucky Ed that is present when he is with family and friends. The dynamics of a true split personality or even multiple personalities aren't typically that easy to create; just ask any therapist or psychological survivor. Possible yes, plausible no. Nor is his daily ten and twelve hour walks to "escape" interaction likely. Most people with the severity of depression he exhibits typically can't get out of bed. His alienation becomes a MAJOR focus for the book.Read more ›
For me as an Amazon reviewer, the hardest reviews to write are the 3 star reviews. At Amazon, 3 stars are lumped in with "negative" ratings, but they really shouldn't be. It's fairly easy to write a 4 or 5 star review; basically you either liked the book or really liked the book. One and 2 star reviews are equally easy to write; just explain the reasons you hated a book or why you really hated a book. Three stars, on the other hand, mean a mixed bag. I wish Amazon would view three stars as "neutral"; neither good nor bad, and possibly appealing to readers, while other readers shouldn't bother with it.
Nicholson's three main characters - one woman and two men - form the ever-popular romantic triangle. As with all love-triangles, there are winners and there are losers. In "Motherland", war-time ATS driver Kitty must choose between two soldier-suitors she meets during her driving duties. The problem is that we have met "Kitty", "Ed", and "Larry" many times before. Oh they may have had different names and been active in different wars, but basically a war-time romantic triangle is just that...a war-time romantic triangle. And although William Nicholson tries hard, his characters just don't step off the page and distinguish themselves in the reader's imagination.
That is not to say "Motherland" is a bad book. It's not. It's just not a memorable one. The reader of war-time romances which continue into the dull days of the post-war will enjoy this book. He or she might just not remember it in a year.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Love found during the turmoil of war and the many ways that love is affected by war’s aftermath is a much written about subject and one I very much enjoy. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Colleen T.
I purchased this book based on the reputation of Mr. Nicholson and I really enjoyed the story. I thought the characters and plot were well developed and I appreciated the method of... Read morePublished on July 13, 2014 by JayCee
Too slow. Did not finish! Others in book club felt the same! Sorry!Published on July 2, 2014 by Amazon Customer
Very disappointed after reading many rave reviews.
I love books about the WW2 era, but this was a bore.
After forcing myself to read two chapters I gave up. Read more
This is the romantic story of Kitty and the two men that love her. The rather thick book starts out with a granddaughter traveling to France to meet her grandmother for the first... Read morePublished on November 27, 2013 by Hope T.
I did enjoy the book a bit but I did not find it romantic at all. I just thought that its another prewar story. I thought it was well written but found it quite boring. Read morePublished on November 21, 2013 by michael alexander
I thought the book did well blurring the lines of what is moral and what isn't. I also enjoy time period it was written in and I find the characters compelling.Published on November 11, 2013 by Ulalume Viva Jones
I'm huge into WWII, whether fiction or non-fiction, so when I saw this book I knew I had to get it. I was very happy that I did. Read morePublished on October 27, 2013 by OAT
Motherland is one of those novels that I had high expectations for. My expectations were met! I found Motherland to be one of those books I could just sink my teeth into. Read morePublished on October 20, 2013 by Naida M.