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'As Time Goes By' brings new light to World War II

By Marissa Neeley
On April 17, 2014

Well, this is sad. It’s my last book review ever. That’s right: I will not be back at USU until Spring 2016, as I’ve deferred to go to Louisiana for 18 months. It’s been fun, guys. It really has. We’ve been through literary masterpieces and not-so literary masterpieces that are still just as good. We’ve been through romances, adventure, classics and now historical fiction. If you’ve read my pieces once, twice or loyally twice a month, just know that deep down, I really like you. If I could give you a gold star, I would.

Appreciation aside, if you’ve read the little doohickey at the bottom of this column that tells you who I am and what credentials I have to write a book review column, then you’ve noticed that it says that I read everything from historical fiction and fantasy to romance and non-fiction. You’ve probably noticed that I have hardly reviewed anything other than the romance and maybe, just maybe, fantasy genres.

But now — brace yourselves — I have a fresh genre to review. Historical fiction, baby. I’ve read a couple of good historical fiction series and books in the past: “The Work in the Glory,” “Prelude to Glory” and “1776,” to name a few. I’m a history teaching major, so of course I read historical fiction. It’s my favorite way to learn history. If you don’t like history and have never read an historical fiction novel, I would sincerely suggest you try it. It opens your eyes and makes those important connections we need to have to our past.

“As Time Goes By” by Jerry Borrowman is an historical fiction novel about World War ll. To be honest, I don’t think my education regarding any war in the 20th century has been a good one, especially World War ll. I really do feel ill-educated on those subjects because there is so much to it. The biggest factor is probably because we spend way too much time on the Revolutionary War and the Civil War and suddenly find ourselves faced with the end of the year with no time to go over the Cold War or Vietnam. Don’t get me wrong: Colonial times and the Revolutionary War are my favorite part of American history to study and are super important both then and now, but so is everything that follows it.

Whatever history education you have received regarding World War ll is about to change as soon as you read “As Time Goes By.” Before I started this book, I knew the basics — Nazis, Germany, Hitler, the Holocaust and concentration camps, the Japanese, Pearl Harbor, Japanese internment camps, the war in the Pacific, the Russian front — but I will tell you what I learned that I never knew or realized before.

One thing I learned amongst the first few pages was that is was called the Phony War at the beginning with most air raid sirens being false alarms. People were wondering if a war was indeed going on, but of course, London for sure will know that it is not phony when it gets bombed during the Blitzkrieg.

As is standard for a book review, you want to know about the writing style, the characters, the plot, climax and antagonist, among other things. You want to know how good the meat is before you decide to dedicate the next bit of your life to reading this one book.

This is an LDS historical fiction novel, taking place in London right as England declares war on Germany. The family, the Carlyles, that this book follows consists of Lord Carlyle, who sits in the House of Lords and is asked by the prime minister and Winston Churchill to perform special duties. The two youngest children are sent to Arizona to live with relatives where they will be safe, and the oldest child, Michael, is enlisted in the Navy.

Borrowman has gone to great lengths to get his novel as historically accurate as possible. Of course, the Carlyles aren’t real people, but the characters they come in contact with and the situations they find themselves in are factual. If you like politics, stories or facts, this is the book for you. It’s not extremely political, but with Lord Carlyle in the House of Lords and working with Churchill and the prime minister, you will undoubtedly get a good dose of English politics regarding the war.

I find it very interesting with an unique perspective. The writing isn’t bad. It’s easy to follow, and history and fiction are woven in nicely. It’s easy to learn and to enjoy a good story with books such as these. Happy reading.

Marissa Neeley is a freshman majoring in history with an emphasis in teaching. She is an avid reader, reading anything from historical fiction and fantasy to romance and nonfiction. Send any comments to marissa.neeley@aggiemail.usu.edu.
 

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