Monday, August 25, 2014

This Is How I'd Love You by Hazel Woods

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
Obtained from: Netgalley/Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours
Read:  August 24, 2014

As the Great War rages, an independent young woman struggles to sustain love—and life—through the power of words. It’s 1917 and America is on the brink of World War I. After Hensley Dench’s father is forced to resign from the New York Times for his anti-war writings, she finds herself expelled from the life she loves and the future she thought she would have. Instead, Hensley is transplanted to New Mexico, where her father has taken a job overseeing a gold mine. Driven by loneliness, Hensley hijacks her father’s correspondence with Charles Reid, a young American medic with whom her father plays chess via post. Hensley secretly begins her own exchange with Charles, but looming tragedy threatens them both, and—when everything turns against them—will their words be enough to beat the odds?

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With the centennial, WWI is trending and I can't say I'm complaining. The conflict has never been as popular as WWII and I'm actually really enjoying the attention it's receiving. Case and point, Hazel Woods' This Is How I'd Love You. Strictly speaking I'd rate the book somewhere between a three and a four, but that's just me and as I don't give partial ratings, I am giving the book the benefit of the doubt and rounding up.

I enjoyed this piece for a couple of reason, but what stands out to me are the uncommon elements of the story. I've seen fictional characters fall for one another through letters before (Letters from Skye, Promises Made Under Fire...), I'm a sucker for the inherent romance of it, but what I'm actually going on about are things like correspondence chess, Hensley's life in New Mexico, the concept of a man forced to resign over his pacifist beliefs and the violence witnessed in the daily life of a WWI medic. You don't see these things in fiction very often and I think Woods' ability to build a story out of such little used material gives the novel a very unique feel. 

Charles and Hensley also make interesting protagonists. They both have pasts and carry a significant degree of baggage which I found intensely interesting to piece through as the two become closer. Too often I feel one character gets more attention from the author, but Woods doesn't favor one lover over the other and achieved a really nice balance between the masculine and feminine aspects of the piece. 

Now I know what you're thinking. What's the problem, right? Why do you say the book falls between a three and a four when you are so obviously in love with the story? Have you lost your bloody mind? Well, the latter is a matter of opinion, but in regard to the novel, my difficulty stems from Woods' decision to write in the third person. A lot of readers will disagree, but I personally find the style difficult to appreciate and struggled with it throughout my reading.

heartrending and sentimental romance, I'd certainly recommend Woods' debut to anyone with an interest in war era fiction. A thought-provoking tale with a genuinely original feel, This Is How I'd Love You is memorable read filled with intense emotion and haunting prose. 

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God is and always has been a substitute for true belief. For sacrificing and forsaking ego in the service of real & actual good. God feeds men’s egos, giving them more self- importance than they deserve. If, in fact, there were a God who was almighty and all- knowing, this being would not tolerate humans speaking for him. The fact that religion requires belief above rationality renders it useless to me. God, it seems, is actually the antithesis of thought, which is what I hold sacred.
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Check Out All the Stops on Hazel Woods' This Is How I’d Love You Blog Tour Schedule

Monday, August 25
Review & Giveaway at Flashlight Commentary
Wednesday, August 27
Interview at Dab of Darkness
Friday, August 29
Interview at Book Babe
Monday, September 1
Review & Interview at Closed the Cover
Tuesday, September 2
Review & Interview at A Chick Who Reads
Wednesday, September 3
Review at The Bookworm
Thursday, September 4
Review at Booktalk & More
Friday, September 5
Spotlight & Giveaway at So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
Monday, September 8
Spotlight & Giveaway at Historical Tapestry
Tuesday, September 9
Guest Post & Giveaway at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, September 10
Interview at Caroline Wilson Writes
Friday, September 12
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair
Spotlight at CelticLady’s Reviews
Monday, September 15
Review & Guest Post at Bookish
Tuesday, September 16
Review at Book of Secrets
Wednesday, September 17
Review at Book Nerd

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