Book Review: Wait For Me

Wait For Me
Published By: HarperTeen
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Source: ARC Kindly Provided by Publisher via Edelweiss
Audience: Young Adult - Historical Fiction

World War II has always been a fascinating time period for me. My favorite movies include Band of Brothers and Saving Private Ryan. The heroism and heartbreak of the time period always resonated with me. The vast majority of my reading experience during this time period has revolved around the military aspect or the Holocaust. I haven't read as much about the home front - especially the home front outside of the United States. The moment I heard about Wait for Me, I couldn't wait to read it. The Scottish setting and the POW aspect pulled me in.

Lorna, a teenager in Scotland, lives on a large farm with her father. Her older brothers are away fighting for the Allies, which weighs heavily on Lorna and her father. I can't imagine the stress of having loved ones off fighting and not knowing for sure where they were or when they would come home. For so many families, their loved ones never made it back. The technology of the 1940's also made it difficult to keep tabs on troop movements. One had to wait for a newspaper article, a news broadcast, or the dreaded telegram. Lorna spends her days attending school and helping around the farm. Nellie, a girl from the Women's Land Army, also lives and works on the farm. The Land Army was an entirely new concept for me and I'm interested in doing more research on the stories of these women. 

Things on the farm change the moment the POW truck rolls up the drive. Men from the nearby POW camp will be loaned out to farms and businesses as a labor source. Paul Vogel, a young German soldier, arrives at Lorna's home one morning to begin his job as a farm hand. Lorna is appalled that while he brothers are fighting the German Army her father would allow a German to work on their land. She feels nothing but disgust and animosity for Paul in the beginning. She only sees him as the enemy.

As time passes, Lorna begins to see Paul as a person with his own dreams, worries, and heartbreaks. He ceases to be a German in her eyes and becomes a friend. This relationship is a dangerous one for them both. Lorna's friends and town would turn on her if they thought she was feeling anything other than derision towards a German. Paul has signed an oath that he will not become entangled with any of the local people; he is to work and not socialize. The pair becomes closer over the coming days and their feelings of friendship begin to morph into something more.

I loved Lorna and Paul. They both are strong characters who move beyond prejudices to find what will truly make them happy. In addition to Paul's nationality, he also has scars from a war wound. Lorna learns to see past the wound and finds that it does not lessen her affection for Paul.

In addition to the romance elements, I loved the exploration of friendship and family. Lorna's relationship with her best friend, Iris, is complicated, but I loved that ultimately these two were there for one another. They didn't allow hurt feelings and spite to separate them for good. I also enjoyed the interactions Lorna has with her father and brothers. Growing up is not an easy process and our relationships evolve as we age. Lorna is learning that as a young woman she will have to stand up for herself or those she loves will always see as her as a little girl that needs protecting.

Wait For Me is an excellent addition to WWII historical fiction. There are rich historical details, realistic characters who face complex situations, and a gorgeous setting. Lorna is the strong, stubborn sort of girl that leaves her mark on history. This one held my heart while pushing me to think about my own place in the world. I highly recommend this one if you're a historical fiction fan or are looking for a sweet forbidden romance. 

One Last Gripe: The situation with Ed bothered me. I wish that Lorna had confided in someone.

Favorite Thing About This Book: Lorna and Paul's relationship

First Sentence: Lorna Anderson was ankle deep in cow shit and milk.

Favorite Character: Lorna

Least Favorite Character: William

The perfect blend of sweet romance and historical flavor, Wait for Me, from debut author Caroline Leech, brings a fresh new voice to a much-loved genre.

It’s 1945, and Lorna Anderson’s life on her father’s farm in Scotland consists of endless chores and rationing, knitting Red Cross scarves, and praying for an Allied victory. So when Paul Vogel, a German prisoner of war, is assigned as the new farmhand, Lorna is appalled. How can she possibly work alongside the enemy when her own brothers are risking their lives for their country?

But as Lorna reluctantly spends time with Paul, she feels herself changing. The more she learns about him—from his time in the war to his life back home in Germany—the more she sees the boy behind the soldier. Soon Lorna is battling her own warring heart. Loving Paul could mean losing her family and the life she’s always known. With tensions rising all around them, Lorna must decide how much she’s willing to sacrifice before the end of the war determines their fate.