Book review: Unravelled – I love France #74


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427 pages

September 19, 2013,
by Tod Publishing UnravelledISBN 978-0-9919670-1-8

Purchase on

This book counts for the following Reading Challenges:

     Books on FranceNew Authors 2013     hf-reading-challenge-2013


Rating systemThe anniversary of a somber but seminal event for world history is coming very soon: I’m referring to the one hundred anniversary of World War I. Many books are in preparation. This year, we already have an excellent one, both on WWI and WWII actually, and I’m very happy to present it today to my readers.

Unravelled opens in 1935 and ends in 1944. Edward Jamieson, a Canadian soldier in France during WWI, suddenly feels again all the inner wounds he has tried to forget, when he receives the invitation to go France for the dedication of a memorial. He remembers again vividly the horrible situations he went through, and also the comfort he found in Helen, whom he never heard about after the war.

But when he goes with his wife Ann to France the following year, Helen is also attending the dedication. How is Edward going to navigate between his past and his present, the love for his wife and the memory of his former lover?

Troubled by all these memories made too fresh again, how are Edward and Ann going to cope? Will they be able to communicate and understand each other?

And then, another war is upon them. Edward is not physically fit to fight, but he is good in communications, and he is asked to train intelligence agents bound for Europe. The problem is, his mission is top secret, and he is not allowed to explain to Ann why he disappears several days at a time.

How is their couple going to face this new challenge? How is Ann going to live this solitary time? What kind of comfort can she find around her?

The story gripped me right away, by its profound realism and the depth of its characters. Edward and Ann, as well as their daughter Emily, are so well described in their thinking, their memories, and reactions. I really felt I knew them. In fact, I still think about them, even though I read the book several weeks ago.

I found the balance between historical facts (the wars, the detailed intelligence work) and the inner movements of the heart superb. I liked the play between memory and present situations. Even though the synopsis gives a few easy clue on what’s going to happen, it still felt unexpected, as I read their inner struggles. Nothing was easy for them. No choice was inevitable. And then they had to find ways to mend, at all kinds of levels.

I have problems sometimes with war novels. I think this is one of the best I have ever read. It illustrates all too well how wars can divide countries, people, couples, and even one’s own heart, and how hard it is to reconcile afterwards.
If you are timid about reading a novel on WWI, but think you should, well, go no further, this is the one!

And this superb historical novel is another fabulous proof that master pieces can definitely be expected from self-published authors!


Here are a few passages I particularly enjoyed:

Throughout this trip across the Atlantic with Ann, past and present had collided with increasing frequency such that he seemed to exist in parallel times, his self divided between then and now, war memories slithering like a nest of snakes. p. 37

All fall Ann had struggled to make sense of her feelings. Like a gardener, she had worked the earth of her married life, lifting heavy, damp clods of memory to dig deep into their past, extracting arguments that had spread like weeds to choke the beauty of once-bright colours and intricate shapes, pruning and discarding tangled branches brittle with decay. She wondered how to explain so he would understand. p.184

What is marriage but discovery? she thought.  Of self, of man and woman, of another being whose strengths and imperfections are exposed to a microscope of proximity. p.427


Two wars, two affairs, one marriage.

 In October 1935, Edward Jamieson’s memories of war and a passionate love affair resurface when an invitation to a WWI memorial ceremony arrives. Though reluctant to visit the scenes of horror he has spent years trying to forget, Edward succumbs to the unlikely possibility of discovering what happened to Helene Noisette, the woman he once pledged to marry. Travelling through the French countryside with his wife Ann, Edward sees nothing but reminders of war. After a chance encounter with Helene at the dedication ceremony, Edward’s past puts his present life in jeopardy.

When WWII erupts a few years later, Edward is quickly caught up in the world of training espionage agents, while Ann counsels grieving women and copes with the daily threats facing those she loves. And once again, secrets and war threaten the bonds of marriage.

With events unfolding in Canada, France and England, UNRAVELLED is a compelling novel of love, duty and sacrifice set amongst the turmoil of two world wars. [provided by the author]


M. K. Tod

“I have enjoyed a passion for historical novels that began in my early teenage years immersed in the stories of Rosemary Sutcliff, Jean Plaidy and Georgette Heyer. During my twenties, armed with Mathematics and Computer Science degrees, I embarked on a career in technology and consulting continuing to read historical fiction in the tiny snippets of time available to working women with children to raise.In 2004, I moved to Hong Kong with my husband and no job. To keep busy I decided to research my grandfather’s part in the Great War. What began as an effort to understand my grandparents’ lives blossomed into a fulltime occupation as a writer. Beyond my debut novel UNRAVELLED, I have written two other novels with WWI settings. I have an active blog——on all aspects of historical fiction including interviews with a variety of authors and others involved in this genre. Additionally, I am a book reviewer for the Historical Novel Society. I live in Toronto and I’m happily married with two adult children.”

Get in touch with the author:

mktod [@] outlook [dot] com 


Good luck!


* If you have problems entering the giveaway for this ebook, please send me an email before midnight on 11/12 at ehc16e {at] yahoo [dot) com. Include in it:

  1. the title of the book you are entering to win – write this in the subject to be sure I don’t think your email is spam
  2. the email address you use to subscribe to this blog by email [after you enter your email address in the top right corner to follow my blog by email, you will receive an email confirmation. If you do not confirm, your subscription will not show as active, and I will not be able to count your entry in the giveaway]
  3. the url of your tweet of this giveaway, for an extra entry.

* when you enter a giveaway, I keep your email address only until a winner has been chosen and has confirmed. After that, I delete the form where your answers were stored during the duration of the giveaway. If you win and you email me your mailing address, I delete this email and its information as soon as I have mailed you the book.






Unravelled tour bannerIn full compliance with FTC Guidelines,
I received this ebook for free from  the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.
I was in no way compensated for this post as a reviewer, and the thoughts are my own.


Just a reminder guys:

If you link your own post on France,

please if possible

include the title of the book or topic in your link:

name of your blog (name of the book title or topic):

example : me @ myblog (Camus)



15 thoughts on “Book review: Unravelled – I love France #74

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