From the acclaimed author of Corelli’s Mandolin, here is a sumptuous, sweeping, powerfully moving new novel about a British family whose lives and loves are indelibly shaped by the horrors of World War I and the hopes for its aftermath.
In the brief golden years of the Edwardian era the McCosh sisters—Christabel, Ottilie, Rosie and Sophie—grow up in an idyllic household in the countryside south of London. On one side, their neighbors are the proper Pendennis family, recently arrived from Baltimore, whose close-in-age boys—Sidney, Albert and Ashbridge—shake their father’s hand at breakfast and address him as “sir.” On the other side is the Pitt family: a “resolutely French” mother, a former navy captain father, and two brothers, Archie and Daniel, who are clearly “going to grow up into a pair of daredevils and adventurers.” In childhood this band is inseparable, but the days of careless camaraderie are brought to an abrupt halt by the outbreak of The Great War, in which everyone will play a part.
All three Pendennis brothers fight in the hellish trenches at the front; Daniel Pitt becomes an ace fighter pilot with his daredevil tendencies intact; Rosie and Ottilie McCosh volunteer in the hospitals, where women serve with as much passion and nearly as much hardship as the men at the front; Christabel McCosh becomes one of the squad of photographers sending “snaps” of their loved ones at home to the soldiers; and Sophie McCosh drives for the RAF in France. In the aftermath of the war, as “the universal joy and relief were beginning to be tempered by . . . an atmosphere of uncertainty,” everyone must contend with the modern world that is slowly emerging from the ashes of the old.
A wholly immersive novel about a particular time and place, The Dust That Falls from Dreams also illuminates the timeless ways in which men and women carry profound loss alongside indelible hope.
“De Bernières is an astute observer of the human heart, and his account of an idealistic young woman learning to live in the real world is beautifully observed.” —Mail on Sunday
“[A] charming and quietly moving tale.” —Sunday Telegraph
“A richly rewarding read.” —Daily Express
“Rhapsodic, wistful and with more than a touch of whimsy . . . It’s pure escapism of the very highest quality.” —Charlotte Heathcote, Sunday Express
“It’s a book in which readers will happily immerse themselves, and one which will surely and deservedly be a bestseller.” —Allan Massie, The Scotsman
“Another epic novel of love and loss.” —Woman and Home
“A moving and engrossing read.” —My Weekly magazine
“[The Dust that Falls from Dreams] will no doubt be a hit with millions of fans worldwide. . . . As with superlative First World War literature from Pat Barker’s Regeneration trilogy through Sebastian Faulks’s Birdsong to Louisa Young’s My Dear, I Wanted to Tell You, the horrors are vividly evoked. De Berniéres is adept at describing how lives can be devastated in minutes . . . Powerful . . . delightful . . . Plenty of Dickensian social observation.” —Leyla Sanai, The Independent (London)
“War and romance with an epic sweep is what people expect of Louis de Berniéres. . . . And it is to war and romance that he returns in The Dust that Falls from Dreams. . . . Thrillingly evoked . . . The inner life of de Berniéres’ lively roll call of characters is as vivid as the external realities, as he explores how anyone might recover from the death of someone they had loved since childhood, and how those who witness such deaths might struggle to readjust to civilian life.” —Louise Jury, The Independent (London)
“Evocative.” —Deborah Dundas, The Star (Toronto)
“A very complex and moving evocation of the war.” —Alex Clark, The Guardian (London)
“Genuinely thrilling.” —Sue Gaisford, Financial Times
“Considerable emotional power . . . deserves a large following.” —Mark Lawson, The Guardian (London)
“A sweeping historical epic of love and war, one that matches Birds Without Wings and his career-high bestseller Corelli’s Mandolin for sheer breadth, storytelling and emotional intensity. . . . Top-heavy with heartwarming and devastating character-led drama.” —Malcolm Forbes, The National (UAE)
“The Dust that Falls from Dreams is modeled on John Galsworthy’s Forsyte Saga. . . . A feast of a novel . . . This book is very much a hit.” —John Sutherland, The Times (London)
“De Berniéres . . . spins a masterful tale that bridges two worlds and delineates the apocalyptic abyss in between. . . . This heartrending saga of love, loss, and endurance paints a vivid portrait of the steep price paid by an entire generation of young men and women who participated in and endured the Great War.” —Margaret Flanagan, Booklist