In the follow up to her bestselling novel "Somewhere in France", Jennifer Robson continues the story of a country suffering in the wake of a terrible war. Readers were first introduced to Charlotte Brown in "Somewhere in France". Devoted friend and former governess to Lady Lilly Ashford-Neville, Charlotte has returned to the life she had before the war. Working in the constituency office of a female politician, she gets to help the poorest echelons of society and yet something is missing. Charlotte has resigned herself to being a spinster, for her heart is held by Lilly's aristocratic brother Edward, the new earl. But it is soon apparent that Edward is suffering from more than just than amputated leg. Using her knowledge as a nurse, Charlotte attempts to heal the man that society says she can never have.
"After the War is Over" is a stellar sequel to "Somewhere in France", though it easily stands on its own. Robson excels at crafting flawed, but likeable characters. While Charlotte is high minded, you can sense her desperation to make an impact. Edward is in some ways the typical aristocrat, but he's attuned to the change around him, but most importantly, to the causes that Charlotte champions. Their love for each other is at times heart wrenching, so grab a box of tissues.
While romance plays an important role in this novel, Robson does not sacrifice period correct detail. She is a master at building a period correct world, getting every detail right down to the last mention of Life Buoy soap. World War I and the 1920s are enjoying a resurgence of popularity; many novels are not treading new ground in regards to characters or story lines. But Robson accurately depicts the devastating consequences of war, and more importantly, what happens to the unsung heroes after the last patriotic parade is gone.
This novel is recommended all around but especially for general historic fiction readers, romance enthusiasts, and lovers of the early 20th century.