The novel’s amusing dialogue enlivens its compelling storyline and is sure to please fans of Downton Abbey ... It may seem at times that Simonson takes too long to move her story from Rye to continental Europe, but when the plot finally drops us into the trenches, the juxtaposition of the villagers’ naivete with the soldiers’ suffering effectively shell-shocks readers.
Simonson spent her adolescence in Rye, and she beautifully describes the pleasures of such a bucolic environment while also giving us the lowdown on how village life actually functions. She keeps several engaging plot lines moving at a stately pace, yet stays in tune with the deeper, unspoken concerns of Beatrice and others.
...most of the book is gentle. It is clear from the beginning who the favored characters are, and we can be assured they will end up satisfactorily. The book is prettily written, with charming descriptions and bits of historical detail. It even wanders into Dickens territory, with characters named Mr. Puddlecombe, Mr. Poot and Mr. Pike, and an urchin called Snout.