“Broken Faces” by Deborah Carr tells the story of Lady Alexandra Baldwyn “Lexi”, her brother Charles, his friend Freddie Chevalier, with whom Lexi is in love, and Charles’ fiancée, Meri. 1914 England was a difficult time. Charles and Meri were engaged to be married, but that didn’t stop Charles from one last fling with his mistress…where Meri found them together. Meri is heartbroken and breaks the engagement.
The war in France was raging and young men were joining up to fight the Huns. Freddie goes home to Jersey where he tends the farm with his father until he decides that he needs to help in the fight. Lexi just wants to contribute and volunteers, driving ambulances and delivering supplies in England. Meri joins the V.A.D. and is nursing in a field hospital in France. Charles is fighting in the trenches and is soon joined by Freddie. Freddie is wounded in the face and is evacuated to the field hospital where Meri is a nurse. Eventually Freddie ends up in a Facial Reconstruction Hospital in Amiens where everything possible is done to repair the damage done to his face.
I could just re-write the story in my review, because there are so many facets of this novel. However, I must say that reading this novel gave a true glimpse of what had to be the most horrible type of warfare. Human beings maimed and killed over a swath of land known as “no man’s land”, constant barrage of munitions, mud, filth, deprivation. This book follows these four young people as they come to grips with their lives during and after the war. With carnage and damage surrounding them, can they even think of going on with new lives.
I enjoyed the book from the historical viewpoint, but it was hard reading of the terrible injuries and the attempts of the men and women to overcome them.