Review of 'We'll Meet Again' - Anton Du Beke
I'll lay my cards on the table right from the start. I read the first book in this series because 1) I love Anton du Beke on Strictly 2) it's about ballroom dancing, which I love and 3) it's set in the 1930s, one of my favourite eras. I was dubious to begin with and wasn't expecting much - celebrity author etc etc. However, I fell in love with Nancy and the Buckingham family within a few short pages. Since then, I've eagerly anticipated each new instalment of their story and the books just get better and better.
The end of 'A Christmas To Remember' brought the series to the brink of the Second World War so I knew 'We'll Meet Again' was likely to be darker in tone, as that was very much where the series was heading. Writing a love story set during any war is a difficult balancing act between wanting the romance to take centre stage and not belittling the brutal reality of life during war. The added difficulty with the Buckingham series is throwing in the day to day life of the hotel as well. However, for me, the balance in 'We'll Meet Again' is perfect. The cliffhanger opening had me gripped from the start and the plot didn't let me go until the final pages.
When I asked to review this book, given the popularity of the series and the author and the fact that my blog still has a relatively small (but loyal, thank you!) following, I didn't really expect to get it. I also knew the release date was rapidly approaching so I knew I was going to have to read it quickly. What I hadn't anticipated, after reading the first half throughout yesterday, was to be so gripped by it that I finished the last half before breakfast this morning. I didn't want to put it down because I had to know what happened.
Emotionally, the plot is a real rollercoaster: I laughed, I got a bit teary, I laughed again. By the end I wept. My father fought in the war. In 1940 he lied about his age and joined the army. Billy was a little bit older, but his experiences and fears really brought home to me what my dad must have gone through and it was heart-breaking.
In general, I'm not a fan of the celebrity book, but in this case I'm tremendously glad I made an exception and gave the first in the series a chance. It's one of my favourite series now and this is a glorious treat to read. If you've enjoyed the rest of the series, you'll love this one. If you've not read the others, PLEASE give them a go and let Nancy, Ray, Artie and the rest into your hearts. Just be warned - once they get in there, they're quite difficult to dislodge!
A huge thank you to #NetGalley and Bonnier Books for allowing me an ARC to review and of course an even bigger one to the man himself for writing it!