Make Do and Men by Adam Fitzroy


Book Blurb :

The Second World War. It’s not all fighting and glory; there are battles on the Home Front, too, and some are not exactly heroic. That’s what injured naval officer Harry discovers when he befriends conscientious objector Jim – a friendship frowned upon in their small Welsh valley even before they begin to fall in love. But they both have secrets to conceal, and it takes a bizarre sequence of events before the full truth can be uncovered.

A novel about healing, compromise, making the best of it and just plain managing to survive.






By choice, I’m not used to reading historical novels placed in wartime, and the early 1900s are generally as far as I go forward in time, my preference being long past. The reason I picked this book is because it tackles a very sensitive, challenging and a rarely enough addressed subject: conscientious objection. It can only raise interesting conflicts … and personally the more, the better!

I always thought that these men were very brave; they had to have a lot of strength, resolve and courage to stand by their convictions and to be able to face the scorn, prejudice and misunderstanding from a whole population and often even rejection from their own family. But I also do understand the other side, people who lost their brother, husband or father while fighting for their country. A controversial issue to say the least, but hooo so very interesting! And I have to say that it’s treated with finesse and that it mirrors perfectly human nature in all its badness but also its goodness…

Mr. Fitzroy offers us here a very thoughtful and imaginative character study of how two very different men, with their own personal baggage, react to the difficulties of simply living during uncertain and dangerous days coupled with their secret and their guilt, doubts and hope.

This novel has a gentle pacing with a real sense of character, a feel of authenticity and a very natural plot development. The strength of the story is that it focuses not only on a group of individuals but that it also concentrates on a small part of Wales, giving us a strong sense of place and community at that time. It feels utterly genuine, so attractive and never contrived.

The length of the book enables us to get to know well a very varied cast of characters and in particular our two protagonists, Harry and Jim.  They become our friends at the same time that their personal friendship grows and you cannot help but love them both.

The author has a very engaging and fluid style of writing. I love the attention to detail that can be found everywhere in the story when it comes to describe feelings and emotion, family tension, the harsh farm life in the depths of the Welsh valley or in Liverpool or even during enemy raids. I love the liveliness and the intelligence of the dialogues, sometimes witty and always believable and sincere. The end twist was very cleverly done!

Adam Fitzroy has written an absorbing and inspiring story with two very endearing characters that have first to free themselves from the past before being able to live their life to the fullest and believe that together, a better future is possible.

Simply let Harry and Jim carry you through this brilliant story. This is the kind of book that I certainly will read again someday. In the meantime, I give 5 stars!


Pubisher : Manifold Press

Source : Purchased

Released :November 1st 2012




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