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Publisher's Summary

When Will Hastie finally decides to retire from the military and return home to Scotland, he intends to settle down on his family estate and learn to become a farmer. But back home, the death of his best friend and neighbour, Rae, during World War II is still strongly felt. In particular, Rae's sister, Patty, has been brooding for the past 10 years over Rae's final letter home from France. When she decides to share the letter with Will, it sends him off to France to discover for himself the circumstances of Rae's death. And his discovery there changes the lives of all those left behind....

©1959 D.E. Stevenson (P)2022 Soundings

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Back to the future

First off, while Audible lists this as the third entry in the Ayrton Family saga, the Ayrton family only make a cameo appearance near the end of the book.

This book is largely set in a slightly different region of southern Scotland. Will Hastie returns home, having taken an early retirement from the military (he stayed in the Army when WWII ended). He joins his father on the family property, which had been rented to others for a decade to earn money to improve the property. The adjoining property is owned by the Elliot Murreys, who are still grieving for Rae, the son of the family, killed during the war. The entailed property will now go to a cousin. Rae's sister shows Will a letter Rae wrote just before his death hinting at some important news. Will travels to France to discover more about Rae's last days.

Much more happens, of course. This book is an interesting reflection on the long term impacts of war and loss. However, it is also a joyful look at life, with some interesting "nice" people doing their best in a world that is sometimes confusing but basically beautiful and worthwhile. A reaffirmation of the value of life.

And Leslie Mackie does a wonderful job narrating the tale.

Fans of D E Stevenson will be delighted that another of her novels is available from Audible.

3 people found this helpful