Title: Wait For Me
Author: Caroline Leech
Publishing Date: January 31st, 2017
Format: Kindle edition
Number of Pages: 384
Genre: Young Adult, Historical, Romance
Set on a Scottish farm in the spring of 1945, Wait for Me begins as Paul, a severely burned German prisoner-of-war, is sent to the farm to work. Lorna, the farmer’s teenage daughter, soon discovers that in wartime, your family and your allies might not actually be your friends, and your enemy might turn out to be the love of your life. Lorna’s friendship with Paul, and their developing love for each other, is challenged by Lorna’s own prejudices and by the intolerance of her soldier brother and her friends in the village. Ultimately, the events which bring peace to Europe will tear Lorna and Paul apart. What will Lorna have to give up in order to find Paul again?
“But we’ll have tomorrow,”
“Yes, we will have tomorrow.”
Such simple words, yes. But they tore me apart on the inside.
I was transported to the past again and this time it was to Scotland while World War II was still happening. At first, I really thought that this might not be suitable for all readers because WWII reminds us of holocaust and holocaust is such a really sensitive issue that might trigger something on the readers. But I assure you, it wasn’t. Well, as far as I’m concerned because what happened in the war itself is another story. Although it was set at the time of WWII, there weren’t “war scenes” at all or any violence – if that’s what also you are expecting. It isn’t a story of WWII itself, it is a story of loved ones left back home by the brothers, sons or husbands who were forced to fight a war they never wanted to be part of. This is not a story about the big WWII. This is a story of small lives caught between the war and its big effects on these small lives.
It was told on third person’s point of view. It was set on Aberlady, East Lothian, Scotland on the year 1945. The pace was stead-fast. And the mood this book possesses right from the very start was melancholy.
“I am not proud that my country killed many of your people, though please remember, your country has killed many Germans too. But that is war is about. We do not like it, but we must all live with it until it is ended.”
Lorna Anderson was a local Scot girl who was also a daughter of a farmer. Lorna grew up being the only girl and the youngest in the family. So she was really closed to her older brothers. That’s why she resented the fact that both of his brothers were needed in the war – both serving to fight for their country. She was kind-hearted, forgiving, knows how to stood for herself and close to everyone in their house.
Paul Vogel was a German prisoner of war. Just like Lorna’s brothers and most of the soldiers fought in this bloody war, Paul was just also forced to do so. He was not really an enemy but the country where he came from was. Paul was a picture of kindness, respect and gentlemanliness. He was a man really beautifully flawed – on the inside and out. He was just so kind and humble. He’s so pure. Paul Vogel had been through a lot. And yes, he deserves Lorna and he deserves all the best in this world.
Every farmer back in those days can request Farm Ladies and/or farmhands to help them with their farms. And in Scotland, the POWs were the people being sent by their officials to nearby farms to serve as farmhands. Lorna’s father requested for a farmhand that will help him with his. And Paul Vogel was the one who was sent to them.
The war left Lorna with a very bad impression for Germans – just like everyone else in their country – that’s why she really didn’t liked Paul from the start. And she doesn’t want him to be there. He reminded her of the war that kept her brothers away from her. And it made her feel bad to let a German a.k.a enemy in their house. I honestly thought that this will be a hate to love trope but it wasn’t. There was no hate occurred between the two at all. Only dislike from the part of Lorna.
It wasn’t really the painful book I was expecting that will make me bawl my eyes out. I would rather call this book a melancholic book than a painful book. But it also made me feel giddy, swooning and sometimes irritated because of some certain characters.
What I saw in this book and what this book will always remind me of was purity. While I am currently typing this and thinking about Paul and Lorna again makes me teary eyed. Isn’t it lovely to witness a love story so pure – that is what your heart has been always longing for? In this generation where purity and true love seems like already very hard to find, reading such story will fill the spaces in your heart that’s been empty for a long time.
Wait For Me just really made me feel sad most of the time. Lorna and Paul’s situation was just very hard. The conflict of loving an “enemy” just because he came from the country that killed many of your countrymen was clearly felt. When people were treating you as a traitor just because you loved someone they thought you shouldn’t even be friends with. I didn’t just see. I felt how hard it was to fall for the enemy.
It wasn’t just their love story that made me sad. It was also the people surrounding them and how judgmental they were. No, they were actually making me mad. Nosy, judgmental people really existed since who-knows-how-long time ago. The war left a permanent damage on Paul not just on the inside but out. His half face was like burned – it was like literally gone – and people who saw him just feared him, pitied him and judged him. Only Lorna’s family embraced him and saw him for what he truly was with or without those scars the bloody war permanently carved into his being.
POWs falling in love with the local girls did actually happened and some of them really did get married in real life. Miss Caroline Leech stated that on the Author’s Note. After reading that Author’s Note at the end, it suddenly made me feel that what I’ve read was a real story, that perhaps Lorna and Paul were real. The thought is making my heart fulfilled. I really can’t help but think that this story was real and what I read was a love story from the past and not a fictional love story set in the past.
Reading this book, I can’t also help but think about the people of my own country back at the time when we were still a colony of America, Japan or Spain. It made me think and imagine our people on their shoes. And how a story like theirs can just be easily erased as the time passed by like they never existed at all and no one will remember, like their stories never happened at all. I’ve watched a couple of movies about the lives of my country’s national heroes and also historical dramas from other countries. One of them was our national hero Dr. Jose Rizal’s story (plus we also studied it in our class which is mainly about his works and life) while he was in Dapitan and he met Josephine Bracken. Of course, Josephine was not the only woman in Dr. Jose Rizal’s life. There were more. And some of the other girls’ stories with Jose Rizal were even more remarkable than what he and Josephine had if only people would know. And there is also this Kdrama (that is now permanently tattooed in my heart!) where the king fell in love with a court lady but he married other women in the end – one is his niece while the other is his half sister – even though he doesn’t really want to while the court lady also married another man who is the king’s pure brother but they only did that to help the court lady get out of the palace. But despite of this, they still both loved each other until the very end, until one of them died and they missed the chance to tell each other how much they still and truly loved each other. (okay enough, I want to cry again) My point is that there were stories like this happened in the past that just faded like it didn’t happen at all. They have so much impact, they were remarkable stories but time erased them. Showing the world no trace, like it never happened at all. Lorna and Paul, and the other prisoners of war and local Scot girls might not have a high status in their country just like them or movie-like/teleserye-like stories but they also had a love story. Their own unique real love stories. Love stories that were worth sharing. And this book, Wait For Me by Caroline Leech, Lorna Anderson and Paul Vogel’s story speaks for all of them. For the prisoners of war and local girls they fell in love with. For all the forgotten stories in the past.
Aside from love, family and friendship also takes a huge part in this book. There was a story of friendship between Lorna and her best friend Iris – who irritated me a lot! – that shows that best friends are best friends (literally) no matter what. How forgiveness was really important. And family was not just based on the blood that was running in your veins. It was based on how you connect, trust, support and love each other.
Their society’s structure was also a really realistic one. It shows how people on the church – like in this case – the pastor and his wife dictate almost everything in their society. Nobody officially said that they should be the leaders, but just because they “came from the church” people follow them like everything in their lives – including their beliefs – should depend on them. I don’t care if you’ll fight me with this, but people on the church were not always right. They were also people just like us who made mistakes. Some of them were also judgmental just like us. They were even sometimes worse. And that’s what was showed in this book. I like it because that was just realistic, perfectly portrayed and gives us a glimpse of their society’s past that may even occurring in some other parts of this world until now.
“…you must know that I will come back to you. If you’ll wait for me?”
Wait For Me is such a lovely story of love, friendship and family. It has a really melancholic mood but also definitely heartwarming and inspiring read. It was a fictional work that was written in a way that will make its reader feel like it was real. And hope that it was all real.
Caroline’s career in public relations with performing arts companies in the United Kingdom culminated with her editing a glossy photographic book, WELSH NATIONAL OPERA – THE FIRST SIXTY YEARS. As well as being an active member of SCBWI, she also serves on the advisory board of Inprint, Houston’s leading literary non-profit organization. Caroline is married with three teenage children.
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*Thank you so much HarperCollins International for providing me an eARC in exchange of an honest review. The electronic ARC received by any means didn’t affect nor influence my review. The quotations above will be checked once I got my own finished copy.