Walking Wounded follows the lives of one family and how their family life is affected first by World War I and then even further by World War II. The Johnson’s are a large family with most of the children born before or during the First World War and the youngest two born just after.
The story explores how the war affected all of them, as a family unit and as individuals. But it also explores their lives separate to the war and the dramas that go on there. Everything that happens to each character is through no fault of their own but they all pull together and try to support each other through their personal miseries as much as they could.
“Walking Wounded is a war story and family saga, focusing on those left behind whilst their men folk went to war, how they survived and how their relationships evolved through periods of violence, loss and reunion.” – Osborne
The Johnson’s are a large family, even without their respective other halves but each character is given a unique voice and characteristic so that there’s never any confusion as to who is who. The main voices in the story come in the form of Lydia, the eldest sister who becomes the mother figure of all her siblings when they are left parentless, May, the youngest sister who finds herself in an unhappy marriage with a young child and Stanley, May’s twin and youngest brother who weds his love just days before being shipped off to war. The war has a profound effect on them all, tearing through their family like gunfire, causing misery in as many ways as possible.
I loved all three of them in different ways but Stanley stood out to me most. He knew what needed to be done and got on with it without complaint. Stanley was incredibly in tune with his twin’s feelings and immediately sensed something was not right within her relationship. This didn’t seem to be the case for May however, her thoughts, fears and problems consumed her entirely. Occasionally, I wanted someone to shake her and give her the courage to do something, but I don’t believe her to be a selfish person, more weak and naïve. Lydia had the strongest shell out of all her siblings, so strong I think they often forgot that she would need comforting too. She was a pillar of strength at all times, except for when she wasn’t she completely hit rock bottom, devastatingly lower than the rest of her family.
The writing style was so powerful and explained the happenings so simply yet accurately that I could feel each emotion so clearly. The sorrow and grief are effortlessly displayed I could not help but feel as though I were part of their family, sharing their strife. I became so utterly invested in this family, all I wanted was a glimmer of happiness for them.
The ending was stunning, though there are significant scars on each member of the family, they are still a strong unit, a constant support network for each other. Not all of them were physically affected by the war, but they are still wounded in some way as a result but by the end, those scars showed signs of healing.
Who else is taking part in this book tour, you ask? Well look no further:
*I received this book free as part of a blog tour, but all opinions are my own