Catherine Hall has a skilful power for building a story around people hampered by emotionally turbulent pasts in her novels. She did this with beautiful effect in her novel “The Proof of Love” about a shamed academic who tries to lose and find himself in a remote location. In her new novel “The Repercussions” she takes this a step further providing a double portrait of two women at opposite ends of a century. In the present, award-winning war photographer Jo arrives in Brighton from a recent journey through Afghanistan where she was working on her own self-driven photography project. She's inherited a house from her aunt Elizabeth who recently died and here she holes up writing letters to her ex-lover and reading the diary her aunt left. While waiting for her husband to return from the Western Front, Elizabeth works as a nurse at the Royal Pavilion in Brighton during the 1914-16 time periods when it was used solely for Indian Corps soldiers who had been wounded while battling for Britain. Her plans for the future are challenged when she encounters the difficult effects war has on returning soldiers and the strife over the social conventions of the time. Each woman’s story is told in alternating chapters drawing unique parallels over matters of love, racial prejudice, gender inequality, sexuality and personal integrity.
Read my full review of The Repercussions at http://shinynewbooks.co.uk/fiction03/the-repercussions-by-catherine-hall/