Today is my stop on the Bookstagram tour for The Photographer of the Lost by Caroline Scott, and I have decided to share my review with you all on here, as well as on my Bookstagram.
With today being Remembrance Day, it is such a perfect day to be sharing this incredible story with you all.
Families are desperately trying to piece together the fragments of their broken lives. While many survivors of the Great War have been reunited with their loved ones, Edie’s husband Francis has not come home. He is considered ‘missing in action’, but when Edie receives a mysterious photograph taken by Francis in the post, hope flares. And so she begins to search.
Harry, Francis’s brother, fought alongside him. He too longs for Francis to be alive, so they can forgive each other for the last things they ever said. Both brothers shared a love of photography and it is that which brings Harry back to the Western Front. Hired by grieving families to photograph gravesites, as he travels through battle-scarred France gathering news for British wives and mothers, Harry also searches for evidence of his brother.
And as Harry and Edie’s paths converge, they get closer to a startling truth.
An incredibly moving account of an often-forgotten moment in history, The Photographer of the Lost tells the story of the thousands of soldiers who were lost amid the chaos and ruins, and the even greater number of men and women desperate to find them again.
I honestly don’t even know where to begin with this book. The Photographer of the Lost is incredibly written, and packed full with emotion. You would never guess that this is Scott’s first novel.
It is very rare for a book to really pull at my heartstrings, but this story brought me to tears on many occasions, I can’t even remember the last time a book made me cry like this one did. Even the small side stories within the main story had me in tears. Lots of us are lucky enough to never know how it feels to lose someone in a war, and to think that families really did search for missing loved ones for years after the war, that feeling of unknowing and sadness is something that we could never imagine, but The Photographer of the Lost will bring you a little closer to understanding that pain.
I’m not always a fan of books with multiple points of view, and different time frames. However, this worked perfectly with this story. I think the chapters which are set during World War I are extremely helpful with the stories development, and to help with understanding the chapters which are set after the war has ended. I particularly enjoyed how during the chapters which are set after the war, Harry and Edie’s paths crossed, or came very close to crossing without the characters even realising, this made the story all the more interesting.
The Photographer of the Lost also gives us an insight into the lives and minds of soldiers during the war, and how it has a devastating effect on their lives after. One quote in particular, where Edie is finally beginning to understand, has really stuck with me;
“But she has seen the cemeteries and the smashed villages now, what the war has done to this country, and finally realizes that Francis was like that because of all of this. And how can that ever be reversed?”
The description of the war, and the after effects that it has had on the French cities, towns, and villages is so amazingly done, that you can almost picture it happening in front of you.
I have read a lot of historical fiction based on World War I, but I can honestly say that this has been the best one that I have ever read. The Photographer of the Lost is the most thought provoking, powerful, and moving story that I have read in a very long time, and I can not praise this book highly enough.
I give The Photographer of the Lost a 5/5 star rating, but 5 stars isn’t even enough for this incredible book.
About The Author:
Caroline completed a PhD in History at the University of Durham. She developed a particular interest in the impact of the First World War on the landscape of Belgium and France, and in the experience of women during the conflict – fascinations that she was able to pursue while she spent several years working as a researcher for a Belgian company.
Caroline is originally from Lancashire, but now lives in southwest France.
You can find Caroline Scott here: Twitter
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A huge thank you to Faye and Jess, who run DarkroomTours for allowing me to be a part of this tour, and for providing content and materials for this post.