Remember November by Cameron Darrow is a historical novel that takes place in England just after the end of World War 1. But it is more than that. It is also a paranormal story dealing with witchcraft, a romance, and has a mystery thrown in for good measure.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and these are desperate times indeed. As the First World War slogs along in a seemingly endless loss of life, British agencies frantically seek out alternative methods of winning the war. One such approach is ADAM (the Allied Directorate for Alternative Means) which is established to aid in the war effort by cultivating and honing the powers of witches. However, before the program can see its efforts come to fruition, the war is over, their labours all for naught.
The lack of timely results causes the government to target the project for termination as an unsuccessful embarrassment. The women who have made ADAM their home and purpose to be sent back to where they came from; the relationships they have built torn apart and the energies they have expended wasted. But there is one last chance to stay together. A private investor may be willing to continue to fund the program.
Staying together is the only thing on Millie’s mind. It is Christmas morning and her best friend and fellow witch Victoria is missing. Military officials are still in control of the program and her absence is considered desertion. Millie and Elise (the witch she has secretly been pining over forever) must find out what has happened to their friend or risk losing everything they have worked for and everyone that they care for.
There are quite a few characters in this book, but they are all dynamic and memorable. There are the different witches of ADAM who provide guidance to Millie and the other recruits. Each has an intriguing backstory that is brief enough to not bog down the narrative but detailed enough to give them personality. The supporting characters are written in a similar fashion as well bringing each to life.
The story alternates between Millie and November’s point of view and the insight that provides into their characters is fabulous. I was immediately drawn to Millie. She is profoundly in love with Elise but is unable to admit it even to herself. She is an endearing character and it was thoroughly enjoyable watching her grow, realize her purpose, and accept herself for who she is.
November awakens in an empty grave with amnesia. As such, you get to learn about her character alongside her as she discovers clues about her past and herself. I don’t want to give away too much, so suffice it to say that it is a remarkable and heartening story and I loved every second of it.
The Writing Style
The concept is intriguing, and the characters are engaging but I just need to take a minute here and talk about the descriptive mastery Darrow has infused into this book. It is simply phenomenal. Darrow has the ability to convey a moment, a scene, a feeling so well, that I truly felt like I was there experiencing it myself. Something as simple as a window is described in a way that creates an atmosphere that utterly surrounds you. Darrow has an uncanny ability to transform a phrase into a mood!
As I said before, characters are engaging and the descriptive language is unreal! However, I also really enjoyed the combination of history and the paranormal in the book. Darrow perfectly mingles elements of witchcraft and the paranormal into the World War 1 setting.
Nothing stands out to me as a con other than periodically finding myself wonderfully lost in the picturesque and stylistic descriptions throughout the book. Also, the romance is more of a subplot so if you are looking for on page flames, it won’t be from sex…but there are witches…so fire does come into play.
This book is a brilliant mix of historical with paranormal. Add a dash of romance and an intriguing mystery to be solved, and there is something for everyone here. The characters are brilliant and if you are someone who appreciates beautiful prose, you have to read this book just to immerse yourself into the world Darrow has created.
Excerpt from Remember November by Cameron Darrow
It hadn’t been long since the place would have been alive with activity even in the wee hours, with at one time dozens of women buzzing about with the excitement that came from knowing that what they were going to do that day might make a difference, when so many had been told their whole lives that they couldn’t, or shouldn’t. it was the excitement of possibility. And opportunity.
The temptation had been laid before all of them: you could help to end the war. Magic was still inside the womb when it came to any sort of combat usage, but so had the tank been at one point, or the aeroplane. Magical combat would have made both of those great leaps forward look like the first hesitant, awkward steps of a minutes-old foal that was still working out what its legs were for.
When the true difficulty of such a feat became apparent and progress was middling to non-existent, many returned home, defected. They couldn’t fight, they couldn’t even vote; what was one more thing they couldn’t do?
To chase the bright light of hope so far through pitch darkness only to find out it was a train coming the other way had left many willing to simply lay down and let it run them over; just a few more casualties of a war that had already taken so much from so many.
For the three of them that still made their way through the darkness, the war had taken everything. Each remained in the dark because the other two did. Their hope now that the war was over lie in each other.
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Bits and Bobs
ISBN number: 9781794576179
Publisher: Indie author
Cameron Darrow Online
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