12 April 2024

In Memoriam


By Alice Winn


Henry Gaunt and Sidney Ellwood are pupils at an English boarding school when the country finds itself on the brink of war in 1914. Gaunt's German mother asks her son to enlist in the British army to protect the family from anti-German attacks. Gaunt sees it as a means to escape his feelings of love for Ellwoood. However, Ellwood and their classmates soon follow and also enlist in the army. Together they experience the horrors of the trenches, where death and decay surround them. Their lives hang by a thread.       

In Memoriam is simply beautiful. It pulls at the heartstrings with its tragic tale of forbidden love during WWI. From the depths of despair new hope springs. The writing is exquisite; powerfully raw but with moments of tenderness. I did, however, find the first half quite hard going and difficult to get to grips with. That being said, I stuck with it and I'm so glad I did. I felt every possible emotion. It was an incredible debut novel by an immensely talented author.          


  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin
  • Publication Year: 2024
  • Author: Alice Winn
  • Genre: Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, War & Military 


In 1914, war feels far away to Henry Gaunt and Sidney Ellwood. They're too young to enlist, and anyway, Gaunt is fighting his own private battle - an all-consuming infatuation with the dreamy, poetic Ellwood - not having a clue that his best friend is in love with him, always has been.

When Gaunt's mother asks him to enlist in the British army to protect the family from anti-German attacks, he signs up immediately, relieved to escape his overwhelming feelings. But Ellwood and their classmates soon follow him into the horrors of trenches. Though Ellwood and Gaunt find fleeting moments of solace in one another, their friends are dying in front of them, and at any moment they could be next.

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