Heartbreaking, graphic historical fiction set in World War I by a fabulously talented author. This is the book for a discussion group. Wide ranging but microscopically focused, two young men and two young women are followed through the ghastly nightmare of trench warfare, death and disfigurement, and (not incidentally for me) the horrible cruelty, willful ignorance, and cold intransigence of commanding officers. Click for more...but no spoilers!
Riley Purefoy, son of a working-class family, meets by accident lovely Nadine Waveny, privileged daughter of a well-known conductor. Their childhood friendship grows and, when they finally admit their mutual attraction, the war has begun. Riley is sent to France, where his commanding officer, Peter Locke, endure the endless savagery of trench warfare. Disaster strikes for all four main characters, including Peter's ethereal wife, brought up only to be a good wife. I cannot recommend this book strongly enough. It's a 5+.
For another look at WW1, seek out The Cartographer of No Man's Land, by P. S. Duffy, another 5.