I have mixed feeling about this book. On the one hand, I found the descriptions of life in the trenches in the First World War powerful and thought provoking, but what lets Birdsong down for me, is the weak romantic storyline that continues throughout.
The opening chapters set the scene in a small town in France, where a young English man, Stephen Wraysford has come to learn more about his trade in textiles. He stays in the the grand family home of the Azaires. Here he embarks on a love affair which will change the course of his life. There are some suggestive scenes with forbidden glances and hasty fumblings and also a couple of steamy sex scenes put in for good measure. As I read these parts, it didn’t feel realistic, and it almost felt as though these passionate encounters were only added to sell more copies. Continue reading