1939: In a hotel room overlooking Piccadilly Circus, two young men are arrested. Charles is court-martialled for ‘conduct unbecoming’; Anselm is deported home to Germany for ‘re-education’ in a brutal labour camp. Separated by the outbreak of war, and a social order that rejects their love, they must each make a difficult choice, and then live with the consequences.
2012: Edward, a diplomat held hostage for eleven years in an Afghan cave, returns to London to find his wife is dead, and in her place is an unnerving double – his daughter, now grown up. Numb with grief, he attempts to re-build his life and answer the questions that are troubling him. Was his wife’s death an accident? Who paid his ransom? And how was his release linked to Charles, his father?
As dark and nuanced as it is powerful and moving, The Road Between Us is a novel about survival, redemption and forbidden love. Its moral complexities will haunt the reader for days after the final page has been turned.
Book Depository (hardcopy):
Although it has been several months since I read this book, it is still one which has stayed with me. I’ve recommended it to several people, and with good reason. I read through my original Goodreads review, and considered adding to it for this one, but decided against it. If you want to know more, read the book!
I’m usually not a fan of books written in present tense but two pages into this one it didn’t matter, as I got caught up in the characters and their story. The story is really two stories, one set during WW2 and afterwards, and one set in present day, but the two are linked. I guessed half of how they are linked but the final piece of the puzzle I didn’t see coming. This is far more than an historical, far more than a romance, it’s a powerful story about people, and man’s inhumanity to man—which in this story is not just about the war but the time itself and the laws and attitudes. Not only that but what people will do to survive, and will sacrifice for love. What I really liked about the story was how Charles’ and Anselm’s love kept both of them going through truly horrific times, and how their actions spoke so loudly of that love, more so than any uttered ‘love yous’ or whatnot ever could.
This is not an easy read in some places as the author does not whitewash any details, but that is one of its strengths. Very highly recommended. 5 out of 5 stars.
Review crossposted to Our Story.