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Those Measureless Fields (Hardback)

A First World War Story

WWI Historical Fiction Ypres

By Caroline Scott
Imprint: Pen & Sword Fiction
Pages: 369
ISBN: 9781783463961
Published: 31st May 2014
Last Released: 28th May 2014

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Captain Laurence Greene was gassed at Ypres. He takes ten years to die. With her fiancé, Joseph, lost in France, Effie Shaw spends a decade as Laurence's cook. They share a roof, a sweet tooth and a taste for pastoral romances. Propriety, however, prescribes that their sharing end there. It is a surprise to Effie, then, when Laurence bequeaths her a railway ticket, the deeds to a tea shop and a declaration of his unspoken love.

The terms of Laurence's will require that Effie must travel to Ypres and visit her fiancé's grave. As Laurence had always told it, Joseph met his end with a show of heroics. But, in carrying out Laurence's last requests, and following his wartime diary, Effie is to discover something shocking. Joseph wasn't quite as heroic as she was told – nor is his grave where it's supposed to be.

The stories of three soldiers connect through Laurence's diary. As Effie travels on, from Passchendaele to Paris, these men become linked together once again. A decade on from the Armistice, is the war really over at all? Effie is about to realise just how many echoes - and untidy ends - 1918 has left behind.

As seen in the Blackpool Gazette.

Laurence Greene is gassed at Ypres, but does not die until ten years later. This is a timely reminder that the effects of war can be far-reaching and powerful, even after everything has stopped and peace has been restored. His death, in a way, contrasts sharply to a Europe in the process of renewal and rebuilding.

Effie Shaw has been looking after Laurence as his cook, housekeeper and sweet-toothed baker. She does not realise until afterwards how important they were to each other. Effie has also been mourning her own loss of her fiancé, Joe. Laurence leaves her instructions to follow, starting her off on a journey of discovery, which will take her to Paris and the famous battlegrounds. His letters and diaries allow her and the reader to relive the experiences of the soldiers in general and of Joe and Laurence in particular, from the idealistic beginning of training to the grim reality of battle as she follows through the written word their disillusionment.

Effie is encouraged and assisted on her quest by Henry, another wounded soldier she encounters by accident and by Laurence’s dog, Reginald. Humour and pathos, well-researched details and clearly imagined experiences abound throughout the novel. It is poignant with quite a few twists and turns along the way, even with the hindsight the modern reader brings to this era. Thoughtful and unusual in narrative structure, this is a compelling tale of love, loss, secrets and lies.

Historical Novel Society

Beautifully observed.

Lancaster Guardian

'Those Measureless Fields' is a haunting exploration of war and its aftermath, and a heartfelt tribute to those who gave their tomorrow for our today.

The Morecambe Visitor

This is a sensitively written love story set against the air war over the Western Front. ... Highly recommended.

Firetrench

As seen in Lancashire Living Magazine.

Lancashire Living Magazine.

Caroline Scott...has created a haunting version of inner turmoil in peacetime. Caroline's fascination with the period shines through in her skilful narrative.

Lancashire Life Magazine

Author and First World War researcher Caroline Scott returns to her home county in a clever and compelling novel which takes a long, hard look at the harsh realities and poignant legacies of this devastating conflict. Beautifully observed and packed with vividly drawn characters and fascinating history, 'Those Measureless Fields' takes us from the back streets of a Lancashire town to the killing fields of Ypres, and from the mud of Passchendaele to Jazz Age Paris... As much at home on the battlefield as she is in the terraced houses of Lancashire, Scott gets to the heart of damaged nations and bewildered survivors coming to terms with the pain and grief of the past and a sometimes uncomfortable present. Written with insight, honesty and humanity, 'Those Measureless Fields' is a haunting exploration of war and its aftermath, and a heartfelt tribute to those who gave their tomorrow for our today.

Lancashire Evening Post

Scott's sensitive handling of the secrets the men returning from the battlefields of France could not divulge, and her skillfully constructed narrative, make 'Those Measureless Fields' a story that will haunt you long after you put the books down.

Annie Harrower-Gray, author of Scotland's Hidden Harlots & Heroines

Caroline Scott's poignant and dramatic story comes to life through her vivid description of the sights, sounds and emotions of the years following the First World War... I would be delighted to read a sequel to Caroline's book.

Gillian Mawson, author of Evacuees: Children's Lives on the WWII Home Front

This is a fine historical novel as it shows us there are always new things to be discovered, even about a war which is so well documented.

Jane Robinson, author of Tracing Your Boer War Ancestors

Caroline made me feel as though I was side by side with Effie all the way, as though I was in Paris with her and Reginald, catching trains and climbing towers. I could imagine the parts of France still recovering after the War, and those parts that had already been dusted off.

I was also right there with Laurie and Joe and have lost count of the number of times I've cried for those two. Caroline made me stop and think of the pain of returning from war, something that is not always seen from the point of view of survivors. An excellent read.

Suzie Lennox, author of Bodysnatchers: Digging up the Untold Stories of Britain's Resurrection Men

Scott portrays an honest and often haunting vision of the years following the First World War; from the circus of battlefield tourism to the emotional scars of an entire generation. Gripping and deeply affecting.

Karyn Burnham, author of The Courage of Cowards: The Untold Stories of First World War Conscientious Objectors

About Caroline Scott

CAROLINE SCOTT is originally from Lancashire. She has a PhD in History, a fascination with the First World War and a house full of khaki-coloured bric-a-brac. In addition to Those Measureless Fields, she is currently working on two non-fiction projects for Pen and Sword – a history of the Women’s Land Army during the First World War and a book about the Manchester ‘Bantam’ Battalion. Caroline lives in France and possesses more trench art than is probably tasteful.

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