The Heroes' Welcome
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April 1919. Six months have passed since the armistice that ended the Great War. But new battles face those who have survived.
Only twenty-three, former soldier Riley Purefoy and his bride, Nadine Waveney, have their whole lives ahead of them. But Riley's injuries from the war have created awkward tensions between the couple, damage that threatens to shatter their marriage before it has truly begun.
Peter and Julia Locke are facing their own trauma. Peter has become a recluse, losing himself in drink to forget the horrors of the war. Desperate to reach her husband, Julia tries to soothe his bitterness, but their future together is uncertain.
Drawn together in the aftermath of the war, the two couples' lives become more tightly intertwined, haunted by loss, guilt, and dark memories, contending with uncertainty, anger, and pain. Is love strong enough to help them all move forward?
The Heroes' Welcome is a powerful and intimate novel, chronicling the quiet turbulence of 1919—a year of perilous beginnings, disturbing realities, and glimmerings of hope.
she could not see him to understand him. It had been interesting, academically, to learn that she needed to read his face, but it was not easy, not helpful to the confidences of the pillow and the encouraging sympathies of the dark. She shook her head, and didn’t want to say, “I can’t understand you,” and terribly wanted to kiss him, because that would tell him . . . Does it show, that I want to kiss him? He smiled at her, and for a moment she thought—but then he scruffled her wild hair, and
It’s been six months since the end. Lady Waveney was home, and Sir Robert too, the maid said, Who could she say was calling? “I’m Nadine,” said Nadine, and the girl blinked, and said: “Oh! She’s in there, Miss . . . ,” and stared: the prodigal daughter returning, and with a wounded officer . . . Riley knew the look, and what it meant: Oh my word, oh poor thing, such nice eyes, and it’s not right to stare, but how can she bear him? He didn’t stare back at the maid. And when he and his bride
officer-in-a-duel-of-honour scar. So he would be a shock, with his reconstructed jaw, his twisted mouth, his slightly too-long hair lying only slightly effectively over the scars where the skin flaps had been taken from his scalp and brought down to cover his new chin. He was beginning to realise that he did not know what he looked like to anyone else. People said his surgeon, Major Gillies, had done a good job, and Major Gillies himself said it had healed well, and Riley chose to believe this
This Riley had not expected. He didn’t want it, that he knew. Could he refuse? His mind raced. No. Or yes? Was he allowed to say he’d think about it? He sat silent. “I hope you’ll allow it,” Sir Robert said. “I think it’s a very likely investment.” He means he doesn’t think it is at all. He doesn’t believe in me. He’s putting out a safety net to protect Nadine, and to allow me a little time before I cock it all up. “Robert,” he said. “I’m touched and honoured.” He hated lying. This was
Harper, flying across the sky like a whirling sunflower before shattering into a flaming shell crater— “Ainsworth,” he said. “You, sir—” He stopped. Coughed and swallowed. “Some are dead, sir, and some are not. All right? You are not fucking dead. There’s three things, sir, you’re going to do for me. You’re coming to the pub, you’re writing me a fucking book and you’re coming to France where we are going to sit on Jack Ainsworth’s grave and cry like fucking babies. You’re going to do it because