Sophie Hardach - Of Love and Other Wars (3 stars)

A deftly-written tale of love, science and Quakers in World War II

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Sophie Hardach - Of Love and Other Wars

(Simon & Schuster)

What’s that, another novel about World War II? Yes, but this one’s different. It features Quakers, scientists and, as the title implies, tumultuous tales of love. The Quakers are Charlie and Paul Lamb, two brothers who both sign an oath of pacifism. The outbreak of war quickly tests their morals, as Charlie notices: 'Think of this as a test… It’s hard defending the sorts of views we hold, and it’s going to be even harder.'

The scientists are the Morningstar family, including crystallographer Esther and her artistic daughter Miriam. The world war serves as a backdrop to the personal and familial wars experienced by the Lambs and the Morningstars.

Hardach’s second novel is very much character driven, and despite a fairly large cast, she keeps tight control of them all as the war, and their relationships, progress. Deftly written in a prose both playful and thought provoking, this is an enthralling read which lingers after the war is over and the last page is turned.

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