Monday, 14 March 2016

Broken Faces by D.M. Carr
Release Date: 15th December 2015
Publisher: Green Shutter Books
Genres:  Historical Romance

Freddie Chevalier, a wealthy farmer’s son, suffers a life-changing disfigurement in the Great War. He’s in love with his best friend’s fiancĂ© and is determined not to miss out on the excitement of the Great War. Soon his life changes from one of idyllic days spent with his friends, Charles, Meredith and Lexi, staying at the Baldwyn’s ancestral home in Shropshire and working on his father’s farm in Jersey, to one of horror, pain and betrayal.

It doesn’t take long for Freddie to discover that the life he enjoyed before the war has vanished and that he is going to have to find a way to live with the consequences of the choices he and Charles have made

Broken Faces beat 7000 other entrants to be a runner-up in the Good Housekeeping Magazine Novel Writing Competition (2012) they described DM Carr as as ‘one to watch’, They also added, ‘In Deborah Carr’s Downton-esque tale, Broken Faces, a soldier suffers a life-changing injury in the Great War’. The book also received a special commendation in that year’s Harry Bowling Prize.

When I read the blurb for this book I was intrigued! I love novels set during this period in history. A time when so many young men were slaughtered on the battlefields of a war that tore apart so many lives. I was particularly interested in the fact that the story centres around the life changing wounds suffered by so many and the psychological effects of their injuries. Young men trying to rebuild shattered lives with shattered bodies.

While reading the book I found myself completely drawn into the era. The author introduces the wonderfully rich language of the First World War and at times I felt I was in an old black and white movie or an episode of Downtown Abbey. I just loved it! I do think that one of the most shocking things is the way the upper classes were so 'inconvenienced' by war and how many really didn't realise what the real impact to ordinary families was. They soon find out that war is indiscriminate and their lives are affected in more ways that they can imagine. Even in the trenches the class system seems to come into effect. Although on the battlefields, death does not recognise or care about class.

Freddie is such an interesting character. A young man who is so desperate to fight for his country, and like many young men, not realising the full horror of war until he is actually there. Freddie is such an honourable young man and despite falling in love with Meri, best friend Charles' girl, he protects her honour and his friendship with Charles who has broken Meri's heart and who initially can only be described as a bit of a cad! All the while, another is waiting in the sidelines and Freddie is to blind to see that a love has blossomed for him in the heart of someone else.

As I've said, I was interested in the way the book explored the injuries sustained by the soldiers. Some of the battle scenes are harrowing but of course they need to be. There is no nice way to describe the slaughter of war. DM Carr has written a spectacularly powerful book about young men who were expected to be heroes at a time when many of them were little more than boys, trying to grow up too fast in an effort to serve the country they loved so much. Obviously back then, disability and disfigurement were not met with the same compassion or advances in medicine as the more modern world offers. Without little or no aftercare, soldiers were just expected to get on with it. Many could not. And, waiting for them are the women who love them.

Broken Faces is an emotional, romantic and heart stopping book that often left me wanting to grieve alongside the characters, particularly Freddie, for the life that was no more. Freddie, like many soldiers of the time must face the fact that his life will never be the same again and he must come to terms with that. Charles himself is changed too by the horror of war and evolves into a richer and more likable character throughout the book but can still be infuriating at times. He too is hiding one or two secrets and trying to protect his family.

 For me, one of the most interesting topics the book covers is the role that women played during the First World War. How many of us could have done the job of patching up young men straight off the battlefield without any prior experience, or driving lorries full of supplies to troops. Bravery comes in many shapes and sizes.

An excellent book and definitely a recommended read!


As the weight of the plaster of Paris slowly increased on his face, he tried to steady his breathing and not give in to claustrophobia. It would be worth it in the end. He concentrated on the gentle American accent of the woman clasping his hand. She had a kind face. Her lack of shock when he’d been unmasked was admirable. Or was it simply she had grown used to seeing men such as he? They told him she was a sculptor. Someone overheard her say she saw beauty in the men she helped and that those men with missing noses and shattered faces were like the sculptures she created.
All he could think about, apart from the suffocating pressure on his nose and mouth, was a poem he’d heard someone recounting back at Les Invalides. Was it by Yeats? He wasn’t sure. He recalled it was about Easter in 1916, but not referring to the Front, even so the words still resonated. How did it go? He couldn’t quite remember. He was now one of the gueules cassĂ©es. One of the broken faces and his life would never be the same again.

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D.M Carr lives in Jersey with her husband and three noisy but adorable rescue dogs. She writes romances for Accent Press under the pseudonym Georgina Troy. Broken Faces is her debut novel in her own name.

3 Responses so far.

  1. Thanks very much for your fabulous review of Broken Faces! I'm super delighted that you enjoyed my book. x

  2. Nikolina says:

    This is a new author for me and the book sounds very intriguing, so I'd love to learn more!

  3. Great review! I would like to win a copy of this book, because I think this book sounds like a very interesting and intriguing read.

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