Thursday, August 6, 2015

Not by Sight

Not by Sight by Kate Breslin  375 pages

Kate Breslin’s second novel, Not by Sight, is based on one of my favorite Bible quotes from 2 Corinthians 5:7, “For we live by faith, not by sight.” Faith, on many level, plays a big role in this wonderful story.

Breslin uses this quote to return to WWI and the horrors that England is facing. The main protagonist, Grace Mabry, has every reason to feel more than patriotic. Her twin brother Colin is fighting in the trenches of France. Grace believes that every able-bodied man should be in uniform. Grace herself is in uniform; she’s joined the Women’s Forage Corps (WFC). But her reasons for joining are not strictly patriotism.

Before she leaves for the English country to bale hay for the calvary, she sneaks into one of aristocracy’s ball and boldly hands one a rakish society member, Jack Benningham, a white feather.  The white feather is a sign of cowardice. Jack is furious.

The story jumps ahead three months. Grace has arrived at her assignment with her maid and fellow enlistee, Agnes. As Grace learns what it means to do physical labor, she is intrigued by the estate’s owner, whom the other girls in the WFC refer to as “The Tin Man.” When she stumbles upon him relaxing near the manor house, the novel’s main plot is set in motion.

An excellent read. I really enjoyed learning about a little-known role women played during The Great War.

Either I missed it, or there is a big hole in the story. The lord of the manor has hardly been out the house since he arrived to convalesce from wounds he received while conducting his military service. He’s only been there three months, yet the villagers, the farmhands, and even the WFC girls have given him a Phantom-of-the-Opera-esque mystique, which didn’t read true to me. Supposedly no one knows he’s there, yet he has this reputation. And that’s the reason I give Not by Sight 4 out of 5 stars.

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