Saturday, December 28, 2019

Reviewing The Forgotten Village by Lorna Cook

Today I'm reviewing The Forgotten Village, a novel by Lorna Cook, if you're thinking that you haven't heard from this author before then I'm not surprised as this is her first novel, but she has a new novel that will be released in March 2020.

Book Review of The Forgotten Village by Lorna Cook
The Forgotten Village by Lorna Cook

I picked up this book as it is set in Dorset, England where I grew up and I was intrigued by the snippet on the back as it is set in the village of Tyneham where I was never able to visit, but my mother finally got to see it last year. 

This novel has two stories interweaved throughout: that of Lady Veronica in 1943 and that of Melissa set in 2018.   Tyneham is actually the 'forgotten village' mentioned in the title - although it is apparently titled The Forgotten Wife in Canada and the US which isn't as compelling a title in my opinion.

Tyneham - Real World History


Post Office Row, Tyneham, Dorset - the forgotten village requisitioned by the MoD during the second World War
Photo © David Dixon (cc-by-sa/2.0)
In 1943 the villagers of Tyneham were given a month to pack up and leave their village.   The 225 residents at the time were led to believe that they would be able to return after the war had ended.   Being a village on the coast the Ministry of Defence wanted to use the village in it's war efforts and the villagers left as patriots.

When the war ended, however, the requisitioned village was not returned to the original owners and is in fact still owned by the Ministry of Defence.   It has now been made accessible on some weekends when the Ministry of Defence isn't using it for training purposes.

Surprisingly there are several villages in the UK that suffered similar fates (I had always believed Tyneham was the only one).

Fictional Tyneham


In the book Melissa is on holiday in Dorset when she sees that the forgotten village of Tyneham is having it's grand re-opening (this never actually happened).   She visits and comes across a photograph of Lady Veronica and Sir Albert Standish (this family and the people are all fictional) which intrigues her.   She also meets a television historian (yes there is a romantic angle to the book) and they both try and find out what happened to the Standish couple as they appear to have disappeared.

The Two Stories in the Novel The Forgotten Village


This book weaves through Lady Veronica's life in 1943 as they prepare to leave the village as well as Melissa's life as she tries to find out what happened to Lady Veronica (and falls in love at the same time).

If you enjoy a little romance, glimpses of Dorset and historical novels then you will enjoy this book.   I found that although I put it down to go to bed I was lying awake wondering what had happened so much I ended up getting up again and finishing the book before going back to bed at some ungodly hour!

The only bit that I didn't really enjoy was when Melissa refers to her parent's relationship which I feel was an unnecessary aspect to the book, although I can see why the author thought it needed to be there.   Personally I got aggravated by her contemplating her parent's relationship especially as they weren't actual characters in the book.

I would definitely recommend reading this and I can't wait to see what the new book is about.

The author says this about her book -

"The Forgotten Village doesn’t attempt to delve too deeply into the intricacies of the requisition of Tyneham. I’m not sure I wanted to give readers a history lesson. Instead I hope I’ve written a well-paced story of love both lost and found, great sacrifice and how all is not forgotten even though it often appears to be. "

Meanwhile before heading to your local library or bookstore be sure to check out all of our book reviews (we do love to read on Review This Reviews!).


Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


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8 comments:

  1. This book sounds intriguing. I've always enjoyed stories placed in WWII England, one of my favorite times and places in history to read and learn about. Thanks so much for bringing this book to my attention with your review.

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  2. How very sad that the original owners were never allowed to return to their homes after the war ended. It would probably bother me a bit that the author chose a real place as the setting of a story that could never conceivably happen. I wonder why she didn't simply create a nonexistent town. Otherwise, I do enjoy reading historical romance. The fact that it made you get out of bed to continue reading, means it must be a very compelling story, which is exactly the kind of book I love.

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    Replies
    1. She chose Tyneham because she came across the village on a holiday in Dorset and as she looked into the history the story came to her. I love how she actually encompassed the surrounding Dorset places into the story - it took me back to my childhood haunts of Chesil Beach and Lulworth Cove which made it seem even better to me.
      The part that never happened was the grand re-opening of the village which was essential to the plot as it set up the meeting between Mel and the historian. It's a shame that this didn't actually happen but reading it you would imagine that in a lot of places this would actually have happened so it really didn't bother me.

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  3. Sounds like a book I would love to read. I just put it on my "to read" list. Thanks for the review.

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  4. I agree with Sylvestermouse that writing an “alternative history” for Tyneham rather than creating a fictional village based on it (especially since it wasn’t the only UK village to have been similarly requisitioned) makes me a bit uncomfortable. But, otherwise, this sounds like a fascinating novel that balances its grounding in WWII history with really good storytelling. Thanks very much for sharing it!

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  5. How sad about this village never being returned to it's owners and occupants. Just wrong, but this book sounds interesting.

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  6. How did you know that I just finished a book and needed something new? This sounds like a lovely novel that will keep me interested and learning about history with a little romance thrown in for fun. I seem to be on a WWII run of novels lately and have enjoyed many of them. I will have to get this one too!

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  7. I think I'd enjoy reading this based on your review. I do like to read historical fiction about those who were affected by WW2.

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