Cover Image: When I Come Home Again

When I Come Home Again

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

What a beautifully written story! 

"There's a bird trapped inside the building, and he turns then as he watches  it streak between light and shadow" 

This is another way of also describing the man they decided to call Adam Galilee. He is found inside Durham cathedral and has no memory of who he is. He's memories are trapped inside his head and he is scared to let them out. "Sometimes I see things that I might remember and I don't like them" 

His photo is placed in the newspaper to try and find his relatives and 3 different women claim to know him.  How will this play out? 

It is a story set right after WW1 and it relays the anguish and grief people felt when their loved ones didn't come home and were missing presumed dead. What makes this an even more emotional read is the fact that it is based on a true story. 

Thank you to NetGalley and Simon & Schuster UK  for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion
Was this review helpful?
Caroline Scott blew me away with her debut novel Photographer of the Lost and I thought that she could not better it but I was so wrong.
When I Come Home Again takes it to another level. It is so beautifully written almost ethereal in the way it unfolds the story.
The premise of the book Is that days before the end of World War 1. a soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. He has no knowledge of who he is and how he got there .and has been given the name Adam. After his arrest he is transferred into the care of James a soldier himself who is a physiatrist who hopes to help him recover his memory by what we today would call cognitive therapy.
In an attempt to help Adam recover his memory his picture and story is printed in a national paper.No one could have known the response this would have and the desperation of women to be reunited with their loved ones.
As with her first novel what really blows me away is the depth of her research into that post war period and the desperation of those women  who have lost their loved ones.
Was this review helpful?
The poet Vernon Scannell, himself a veteran of WW2 wrote a haunting poem he called The Great War. The closing lines are:

"And now,
Whenever the November sky
Quivers with a bugle’s hoarse, sweet cry,
The reason darkens; in its evening gleam
Crosses and flares, tormented wire, grey earth
Splattered with crimson flowers,
And I remember,
Not the war I fought in
But the one called Great
Which ended in a sepia November
Four years before my birth."

There is something about that war, something that echoes down the decades. Even now, when those who fought and survived are all long since dead, the conflict is seared into the national psyche. Caroline Scott is, like many of us who lack her grace and talent as a writer, gripped not so much by the military details, but by the colossal aftershock that continued to cause devastation long after the last shot was fired in November 1918.

In her 2014 novel Those Measureless Fields she began her own personal exploration of what happened to the men and families who had to pick up the pieces of their lives after the Armistice. She followed this in 2019 with what was, for, me one of the books of the year, The Photographer Of The Lost (click to read my review), also known as The Poppy Wife. Now she returns to her theme with When I Come Home Again.

Just weeks after the Armistice, a filthy, dishevelled young man, wearing a tattered soldier's uniform, is arrested by the police after causing minor damage to monuments in Durham cathedral. In custody, he refuses - or is unable - to give his name, or any other clue as to his identity. The police, thinking they may have a case of severe shell-shock on their hands, put him in the care of a young doctor, James Haworth. For want of any other name, they call him Adam Galilee.

At a rehabilitation centre in the Lake District, Haworth tries to find the key that will unlock Adam's memory. James and his boss, Alec Shepherd, take a bold decision. They release a photograph of Adam, and what little they know of him, to the national press. This triggers a wave of mothers, wives and sisters who yearn for the impossible - a virtual resurrection of their lost son, husband and brother. From the tragic queue of broken hearted souls, three women seem to be the most convincing. They are Celia Daker, who believes that Adam is her missing son, Robert, Anna Mason, a young wife who dares to dream that she is no longer a widow, and Lucy Vickers a sister who is now bringing up the children of her lost brother

Haworth is a former soldier himself and is haunted by terrifying dreams of the horrors he experienced during the Battle of The Somme. As he tries to come to terms with the hopes of the three women who believe that Adam is theirs, his own mental health - and with it his marriage - begin to shatter.

I'll be quite frank here. This is not an easy read. I'll say that the bleakest and most harrowing novel I have ever read is Thomas Hardy's Jude The Obscure. If I give that a 10 for heartbreak, then When I Come Home Again is a nailed-on 9. It is, however, haunting and beautifully written and works on so many different levels. In her descriptions of how Adam reacts to the intricacies of the natural world around him, Caroline Scott is surely channelling her inner John Clare, or perhaps remembering Matthew Arnold:

"Through the thick corn the scarlet poppies peep,
And round green roots and yellowing stalks I see
Pale pink convolvulus in tendrils creep;
And air-swept lindens yield
Their scent, and rustle down their perfumed showers
Of bloom on the bent grass where I am laid."
The Scholar Gypsy 1853

As the book builds towards its conclusion, there is the terrible irony of Adam's palpable fear of returning to his old life - wherever that was - as he retreats more and more into the solace of rebuilding the ruined and neglected walled garden at Fellside House. As for the women who long for Adam to be their son, brother and husband, we fear that they are fated to lose their men twice over, thus doubling the pain. There is dramatic catharsis still to come, and an act of irony worthy of the aforementioned Thomas Hardy. Life must go on, however, and in Adam's restored garden, perhaps Caroline Scott has created a metaphor for regeneration. There is deep, deep sadness at the very heart and soul of this book but like the blossom on the damson trees of Fellside Hall this fine novel leaves us, to borrow Milton, "calm of mind all passion spent." and with a sense that renewal might - just might - be possible
Was this review helpful?
November 1918: On the cusp of the First World War, a uniformed soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. It quickly become clear that he has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. He is given the name Adam and transferred to a rehabilitation home where his doctor, James, tries everything he can to help Adam remember. But Adam doesn't want to remember. 

This story is based on on a true eve to. The characters are all f.awed, 3ven the doctor is left traumatised after witnessing eventw during the First World War.  The characters were likeab,e and believable. The story is told from multiple perspectives. Tnis is a heartbreaking read.  8t reveals the tragedies of war. Will they ever find out who Adam really is? You'll need to read the  ooh to find out.

I would like to thank #NetGalley, #SimonAndSchuster for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
When I Come Home Again is a gently-paced book that packs a searing and lasting punch … all the more so for being based on true events.  It’s a fresh retelling of the devastation of war; of the carnage it wreaks on the soul of a man and on the families left at home. Set in the aftermath of the First World War, this story recounts the turmoil of soldiers returning home - how changed they are, and their struggles to settle back into the families and lives that were once so familiar. Despite being set in the early 1920s, the events within the pages of this incredible book are as relevant to today as they ever were.

I found the narrative style ethereal and dreamlike, which made it all the more compelling.  It’s stirring, expressive prose is enchanting to read, and I frequently found myself immersed in the author’s evocative rendering of the countryside in which the book is set. However, the brutality and shock of the war is ever-present in the nightmares and repressed memories of the book’s main characters, occasionally punching its way through the bucolic calm of the beautiful prose.  The effect of these two contrary realities is utterly haunting, each silhouetting the other in stark relief.

The final chapters of When I Come Home Again are an unstoppable force, bringing a rounded, all too real, conclusion to the tumultuous emotions of the events and chapters that have gone before. I read most of the book with that butterfly sensation that comes with high emotions, and there were passages that caused my eyes to leak!  Immense care has been taken in the researching and writing of this book, and it’s not one to be rushed, it deserves our full attention and contemplation.

I’ve not read any of Caroline Scott’s books before now (this will change!), so I wasn’t quite prepared for the genuine beauty of her writing. Yes, I’d taken a sneak peek at a few other reviews of this book before I started reading … but I was still taken aback by her talent for creating such beautiful, rich and vivid images with an extremely skilful simplicity of prose. This book evokes a powerful, emotional response; it created a world I yearned to step in to … and yet never to be part of; it elicits an understanding … and yet a sense of disbelief.  This haunting story will stay with me for quite some time, and I will certainly be recommending this book wholeheartedly to all my fellow bookworms, my friends, and every seeker of literary brilliance.
Was this review helpful?
I don't read historical fiction very often and was glad to have read Scott's When I Come Home. It was truly a heartwentching novel with characters that hit home harder than I was prepared for. I was expecting a war novel but When I Come Home is the story of the devastation that follows the war and Scott's poetic writing guides the reader through the effects it had on multiple characters with great care. I loved this book. I was a great break from my preferred reading genre and I will definitely be picking up more of Scott's books in the future.
Was this review helpful?
When I come home again, this book has been a talking point in my family as I have shared the book with them, which has left us all guessing and very thoughtful. A very powerful, thought provoking story line, Such a sad ending for Adam,
Was this review helpful?
I loved everything about this book! The story of men coming home from the war with a trauma that took them years to overcome, the suffering of relatives of missing soldiers and the uncertainty about the fate of so many lost men- all that really resonated with me and it’s what makes me feel like the author has done their research. 
It was a very moving story and I particularly enjoyed the many beautifully descriptions of the nature in northern England. Initially, the different POV’s confused me but I got the hang of it and started enjoying the insight into the characters minds a lot.
Was this review helpful?
Following on from her stunning debut novel Photographer of the Lost, Caroline Scott revisits the theme of the missing men of WWI. In the closing days of the war, a young soldier is picked up on the streets of Durham with no memory of who he is or where he belongs. As doctors at Fellside House try to coax back his memory, women around the country come forward to say he is their husband, brother or son. Some of their claims are strong, and we're given a moving glimpse into their lives lived in the shadows of uncertainty. But will Adam, as he is now known, find his place in this post-war world or will he forever remain the "living unknown warrior"? 
Meanwhile, his doctor, James Haworth is facing his own struggles with the aftermath of war - perhaps Adam is lucky to have no memories of that horrendous time?
Powerful characters, atmospheric descriptions of nature, and a real sense of mystery make this poignant and breath-taking exploration of loss, love and precious memories an unputdownable read.
Was this review helpful?
Thank you to  Simon and Schuster UK and Netgalley for the arc of this book.

A 4 star read for me, brilliant story line, great character development i love it! This follows in which is the aftermath of the first world war. its an emotional, heartwarming story definitely recommend though! 

Thank you to Caroline Scott for writing this! Definitely be checking out your other books"
Was this review helpful?
The ARC of this book was kindly provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. #WhenIComeHomeAgain #NetGalley.
This was beautifully written, poignant and poetic. I felt immediately connected to the story and characters, desperate to find out more information as the story slowly unfolded. Although it's a slow burner, it's absolutely breathtaking. The way Scott writes this is beautifully poetic, the writing almost leaps off the page as you're pulled into this story of grief and loss. It presents itself as not just a war novel, but one that explores the aftermath and the inconceivable damage war does to an individual. Scott does a wonderful job of balancing the multitude of characters we come across in this novel, not one feels underdeveloped or overwritten. There's a real, human feel to every person we encounter. It was haunting and moving, one that will leave me thinking.
Was this review helpful?
So this is the second book I’ve read from the author. I was entering this with hopeful  eyes but alas I was very disappointed. I felt the story dragged on, especially the first few chapters. And I didn’t feel drawn to the characters and it took a lot of effort to make me read the whole novel. I’m a big Great War fiction book lover and this just didn’t tempt me one bit.
Was this review helpful?
When I Come Home Again by Caroline Scott is a novel of the unbearable sadness suffered by those who came home and those who were left behind in WWI. The book begins with the arrest of a soldier in Durham Cathedral at the end of the war  The soldier claims to not know who he is and the police name him Adam Gallilee. A new hospital has been set up in Fellside House in the Northumberland countryside and it is decided to entrust Adam to the care of Dr. James Haworth himself a survivor of the Great War. It is hoped that Adam will remember who he is and provide an insight for the doctors working with him.  Adam represents the unknown Soldier buried among  kings in Westminster Abbey.
As time goes on Adam shows no signs of recovering his memory, in fact he actively refuses to remember. A decision is made to publish his photo in the national press and hundreds of people apply to come and see him. Three women are equally convinced that he is their son, husband and brother. The identities of Robert, Mark and Ellis all seem to fit Adam's profile but still his memory refuses to surface. Adam talks about "the fairy woman" he meets in the woods as his wife but everybody believes him to be delusional. Caroline Scott captures beautifully the need for closure and how we can convince ourselves of pretty much anything if the desire to do so is strong enough. 
The various storylines are a lesson in empathy and poignancy. There is no judgement here just an acceptance that trauma affects everybody differently.
When I Come Home Again is a powerful   portrayal of when a world goes mad and leaves the victims ill equipped to deal with the aftermath.  It is also a multilayered work that tells each story in an understanding manner and shows that sometimes answers don't always bring closure. I will be recommending #WhenIComeHomeAgain to everybody. #Netgalley
Was this review helpful?
I read Caroline Scott's previous novel, set in the same historic period, but found this one a bit more of a struggle.  Again the subject matter is something that many people possibly have not considered but is basically PTSD caused during WWI.  As psychology was still in it's infancy at this time even doctors struggled to cope and help their patients.  The story revolves around "Adam" who has complete amnesia and cannot remember his name or how he came to be in the state in which he is found.  Different treatments are tried in a bid to get him to recall his identity.  Characters and events are sympathetically described.  It is difficult to say more without divulging some of the plot.  A worthwhile and interesting read.
Was this review helpful?
Sometimes I feel annoyed while writing a book review because there is so much of the story to mention but I don't want to give away any spoilers. So I try to restrict my summary to the book description but that hinders the review. But I will try my best to provide a review without giving away the story.

Adam doesn't know who he is or where he came from, he was discovered at the Galilei Chapel in Durham wearing a uniform. So they gave him the name Adam Galilei. The authorities supposed him to be a deserter and arrested him only to discover he had no memories of his past. He was then transferred to Doctor James for rehabilitation.

Doctor James was a kind man, very patient yet determined to help Adam remember his past and reunite his kin. but Adam does not want to remember, unwilling to relive the trauma of war he had locked his memory away. One peculiar thing about Adam is that he sketches the face of a lady. That one single lady every time. Doctor James hoping this could be a hint or perhaps someone from his past who could help him, encourages him to draw.

As time passes three women come forward claiming to be a relation of Adam, whom they lost in the war. Are they truly Adam's kin or someone is waiting for him at home?

'When I come home Again' is a "post-war" fiction authored by Caroline Scott and is claimed to be based on true events. Which is quite understandable as the author is a PhD has an interest in post-war lives of returning soldiers and their family. The writing style of the author is very clear and descriptive. Though I found the pace of the story to be a bit slow but not boring I am just not used to reading at this pace. It is quite immersive and you may find yourselves reading for hours at a stretch. Another thing that I like about this book is the way the feelings of the readers resonate with those of the characters. When you're reading the story you feel sad, depressed, happy, relieved as the characters in the book. That is the quality which very few books possess.

While reading I don't know why but I was getting Murakami vibes from the story, like the type of Melancholic sadness you feel while reading Norwegian Wood, a certain kind of emptiness and sadness. That may be due to our sympathy towards Adam but I liked it.

I will most definitely recommend this book to the readers who enjoy slow-paced immersive readings.

(The review will be published on the attached link on the day of book release i.e. November 01st, 2020)
Was this review helpful?
With grateful thanks to netgalley and  caroline  Scott for an early copy in return for an honest review. 
This is one amazing Author  having read her last I book  I was delighted  to have the  privilege  to read this  work off art,quite mesmerising characters  and totally captivating  I have absolutely nothing but praise  for this beautifully  crafted book.
Was this review helpful?
Caroline Scott's second novel is one of the best books I've read this year. Beautifully written and superbly plotted, the novel also balances the perspective of multiple characters, shifting between them seamlessly and allowing each to develop as nuanced, complex personalities. 

The story revolves around the story of Adam Galilee, the name given to the amnesic soldier who is arrested by the police for sketching in chalk on a tomb in Durham Cathedral. Adam is released into the care of psychiatrist James Haworth, another veteran of the Great War who is haunted by the men he could not save. Drawn by Adam's isolation, James becomes obsessed with restoring Adam to those who love him while at the same time denying his own tortured memories that estrange him from his wife, Celia. 

Advertisements that seek to locate Adam's family draw hundreds who believe he is their missing son, brother, or husband. As James Haworth wonders, "Can that many people be deluded? Can there be so much wishful thinking in the world?" The tenderness with which the novel explores these women's loss and longing serves as the foundation for exploring eternal questions of grief: is it essential to face reality when it is too brutally painful to be borne? Does pretending to feel better promote or disrupt lasting emotional healing? 

A book that begs to be re-read and discussed, Scott's novel is a treat to be savored.
Was this review helpful?
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for an early review copy. 

Reading this book, going through different emotions 

Caroline, has written an emotional and very interesting book, a story which should continue to be told. 

The book gave an insight on the effects a war has on the victims, their families, wives, parents, girlfriends etc. 

Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Was this review helpful?
Caroline Scott has done it again! This is such a very interesting and poignant story. A man is arrested after drawing on a tomb in Durham Cathedral but he doesn't know who he is or where he's from. The year is 1918 and the First World War has just ended. This story tells you about the aftermath of war and the impact on people- both men and women. I cannot recommend this highly enough- beautiful writing, characters you really care about, and the descriptions of the terrors of war and the impact on mankind are so well done that you can imagine yourself there. This author does not shrink from telling it as it was, and her writing is all the better for it. There is no glorification of war here but a more realistic story. You have to read this book!
Was this review helpful?
Set in the years right after WWI 'When I come home again' is a story about the human cost of war; in lost lives, survivors with terrible traumas and the grieving families who sometimes had to wait for years for news of their lost loved ones.
The story is slow moving, in places too slow moving, but it is impossible not to feel for the characters. 
Adam is a British soldier, who is returning in 1918 without any recollection of who he was before the war, and what happened to him in the trenches in France. His doctor James Hawthorne is suffering from his own demons from the war, and around them is a gallery of persons who are all affected by their traumas and struggle.
Was this review helpful?