The soldier's return by Melvyn Bragg

About the book

When Sam Richardson returns in 1946 from the ‘Forgotten War’ in Burma to Wigton in Cumbria, he finds the town little changed. But the war has changed him, broadening his horizons as well as leaving him with traumatic memories. In addition, his six-year-old son now barely remembers him, and his wife has gained a sense of independence from her wartime jobs. As all three strive to adjust, the bonds of loyalty and love are stretched to breaking point in this taut, and profoundly moving novel.

Reviewed by Bridewell Beauties Reading Group:

The story is an old story – but beautifully written – wonderful prose. Thought provoking and well constructed. A record of social history.

Star rating: ****

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7 thoughts on “The soldier's return by Melvyn Bragg”

  1. Review by Basingstoke Library Thursday Reading Group:
    Amazing, emotional. So true to life, especially after the German war finished, the men were still fighting in the Far East. People forgot them almost. They were very bitter!
    Star rating: ****


  2. Review by Goodworth Clatford WI Reading Group:
    Mills and Boon ending – sentimental. Good social history of the time and area.
    Author knew his era.
    Star rating: ***


  3. Review by After Eights – King SomborneReading Group:
    Sympathetic study of post-war Britain and difficulties of re-adjusting relationships. A powerful moving story of a family and society torn apart by war. A poignant picture of the son (autobiographical perhaps). In some ways the book is slightly unpolished but with magical pictures of small town life. The uncertainty of the ending was a fitting end to the book. All very sad.
    Star rating: ***


  4. Review by New Forest/Waterside U3A Reading group :
    This book proved an excellent choice for a group with an age range 60 to 85, with varied social backgrounds and differing recollections of the war and the immediate post war years. A story compelling in its telling and plush with descriptions of people and places. Our discussions on the divisive pulls of loyalty on characters adjusting to new and barely understood circumstances, did justice to an excellent piece of writing.
    Star rating: ****


  5. Review by Hayling Readers’ Group:
    Set immediately after World War II this poignant story shows the effects of war and separation on an ordinary working class couple and their young son. An enjoyable read with believable characters and situations.
    Rating: ***


  6. Review by Fareham 5:30pm reading group:
    We all enjoyed the descriptions of day to day life and found the characters and relationships credible. There was a lot of discussion on the tradegy of the situation… and absolute frustration about the characters’ inability to talk to one another. When we learnt that this was quasi-autobiographical it helped a bit. Many of us found the ending contrived.
    Rating: ***


  7. Review by Stubbington Book Ends
    An intersting “slant on war” book. Believable characters and an unexpected ending.
    ***+ 3 and 1/2 stars


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