Clementine and Claudia
A heartbreaking novel of two sisters divided by love and war
by Piper Milton
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 22 Sep 2016 | Archive Date 04 Feb 2017
The First World War is raging and sisters Clementine and Claudia are coping in very different ways. Clementine is a nurse on the front line, doing her best to save the lives of soldiers wounded while serving their country. Claudia, on the other hand, is living the good life in England, deliberately oblivious to the horrors her sister and so many others are living through. When they both meet their perfect man, their already fractured relationship is tested in ways they could never imagine.
The début novel from Piper Milton, Clementine and Claudia is a powerful and beautifully written story of romance and war and a wonderful addition to the romantic traditions of Penny Vincenzi, Soraya Lane, Brief Encounter and Downton Abbey.
A Note From the Publisher
Clementine and Claudia will also be published as a paperback.
Available on NetGalley
Average rating from 47 members
I really, really, really liked this book. Although I’ve read many books on WWII, I can’t say I have when it comes to WWI. And I’m glad I did with Clementine and Claudia, because it is a beautifully written book, super well-researched. It reads like you are actually living at that time, and I was drawn in from the moment I started reading. I only stopped because I had to go to work, otherwise I would have read it in one sitting I think. The story is extremely entertaining, and I loved how Piper Milton weaves human relationships between one another, and how well she describes the complexity of feelings and emotions. The characters are wonderfully realistic: I loved Clementine, and hated Claudia (maybe you won’t, who knows). I enjoyed the changes of points of view, and the style and descriptions were gorgeous. It made me think of Pride and Prejudice, in a way. I liked that. If you like tales of jealousy and love, this book is for you.
"Clementine and Claudia" is a beautiful and captivating piece of historical fiction. Set during World War I, it tells the story of Clementine, who falls in love with a stranger on a train, who turns out to be her sister (Claudia)'s fiance. It follows their journey over time while also developing other characters and the war (though the war is certainly not a focus). Clementine is a nurse in France, who goes home on leave for her sister's hurried wedding to learn that her sister has lied about being pregnant to trick Alexander into marrying her. He learns after the wedding that Clementine is the woman he fell in love with on the train and that Claudia was not nor ever pregnant. Alexander immediately wants a divorce in a time where this is very taboo (thus decides to wait to enact it), and he has a romantic tryst with Clementine before separating. He is still married to her sister when she learns she is pregnant. She begins down a deep depressive spiral and is "saved" by Charles, a doctor in the military, who learns about her situation and marries her quickly to help her save face. This is a time when reputation was everything. Charles is in love with Clementine and happy to raise Alexander's children (she has twins and learns there is history of this in his family). I won't spoil the ending or the rest of the events, but it is every bit as juicy and complicated as one could hope. I was unable to put this book down and read late into the night. It's wonderfully captivating and pulls you into the early twentieth century and all the intrigue. I will say I was surprised by how deceptive and shallow Claudia is and remains- she is a one-sided character- and very clearly a yin/yang situation with Clementine, who is lovely, kind, gentle, considerate, honest, and everything "good" a person could be. Perhaps this is why so many people want to marry her. The only "bad" thing she does is fall in love with Alexander and have an affair, but it's all in the name of love. Clementine as a character develops throughout the book, but Claudia remains just as spoiled, indignant, and insufferable as ever (she feels that the war has ruined her social life and seems unhappy with it for that alone and feels entitled to a great many things). I almost feel that they were two sides of a coin or a yin/yang, and perhaps this is the reason for the title (since a better one might be Clementine and Alexander, as they are the clear main characters here). It's a very clean book also, where any intimate moments are not described (fine for older teens)- definitely no erotica or anything like that. War is more of a backdrop than an event and we don't hear much about it except that it happens and when people are injured. This is really a story about relationships which happen to be more complicated by the war. Piers, Alexander's BFF and everyone's confidant, is a really fun character, and I think he should get his own spin-off book. The glimpses of him were interesting and fun, and I think this would be an amazing sequel (to tell his story of life, the air force, and love- which is hopefully in his future). Regardless of any shortcomings, it's a beautifully written book and a pleasure to read. Be prepared to be sucked in and not able to put this one down! Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Foremost, this debut novel is stunning. The author has created a tangible world in which the reader can experience the early 20th century in all its glory and wonder contrasted with the changing times and the deep sorrow of WWI. The author's talent and full descriptions carry you beyond the book and submerse you in the time as good historical fiction is meant to do. Personally, I was totally caught up and read straight through into the wee hours of the morning. The plot line follows a turning and suspenseful path that actually made me gasp aloud at one point - which is rare for me. The characters, Clementine and Claudia, open up to the reader and although you may like or dislike their choices ultimately you understand that they are human and you see their motivations through narration, conversation and action. I felt, as the story took shape, that in many ways I could relate to both of them and to what they were experiencing in the moment. The story expands and contracts around war, rationing, loss, marriage, and family but more importantly it tells a story of love. Love is woven through in different themes and variations - unrequited, undeserved, passionate, jealous, delicate and ultimately true love. I think if you're looking for historical fiction, adult fiction or simply a good novel to curl up with this is the book for you. Fair warning: You may not want to put it down.
I'm a bit of a WW1 fiction addict, how class and society changed, how women's capabilities were viewed and the pointless, horrific tragedy of the war that changed everything is absolutely fascinating to me. This book was a real treat. As a reader you are drawn to Clementine, and develop an almost immediate dislike for Claudia, but thinking about it now, Clementine isn't that nice a person, she hurts so many people. It's says a lot for the skill of the author, especially considering it's her first published novel. It's intense, atmospheric and emotional, everything you want in a tragic love story, I can't wait for Piper Milton's next offering. Both male leads are endearing, bit of a surprise towards the end which make you reassess whether you have Charles figured out or not, it certainly lying leaves you wondering..
I found this debut novel to be a gripping read that drew me in from the very first page "Clementine and Claudia" is a fantastic example of historical fiction. Set during World War I, it tells the story of Clementine, who falls in love with a stranger on a train, who turns out to be Claudia - her sister's - fiance. Clementine is a nurse in France, who goes home for her sister's wedding only to learn that her sister has lied about being pregnant to fool Alexander into marrying her. He discovers after the wedding that Clementine is the woman from the train and that Claudia was not ever pregnant. This is where it all begins... The author has recreated a very lifelike portrayal of the world as it stood in WWI. The author's dialogue and turn of phrase really submerge you in the period and allow you to live for a while in another world. Personally, I was totally captivated by this novel and read straight through the free cocktail hour at our all-inclusive resort The characters, Clementine and Claudia, spring to life on the page and were fully three dimensional characters that I felt really had the reader conviced that they were living breathing girls. I could relate to them and their struggles in a way that I rarely do with historical fiction. Although the novel deals mainly with marriage, and family it touches on so many human struggles and dilemmas that i think that any reader would soon get lost in this world. In a way, it reminded me of Downton Abbey and its entire world contained within it The novel contains lots of drama in the complexities of the marital relationships, unraveling love affairs, double-crossing and painful separations. It would be the perfect book for a long autumn afternoon curled up in an armchair losing yourself in its world. I was unable to put this book down, as I've described. It played a perfect 'movie' in my head and I'd love to see it on film Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Two British sisters, raised in the same household who prove that nature can override nurture in many situations. Clementine is a nurse, working in Northern France and dealing with all of the horrors wrought during World War I. By contrast, her sister Claudia is living her life as if a war has no effect: following her rather selfishly unthinking pleasures and planning her marriage. From the start, we see how these sisters differ, hoping that Claudia will actually grow beyond her selfish view of the world, while we want Clementine to find a measure of peace and happiness even after all she has dealt with during the war. But Clementine’s obligations are clear: not only is she to attend a rather quickly arranged wedding for her sister, using her leave to make the journey by train. On this train, she meets Alexander and their connection is instant and palpable. Of course, things are not as simple as one may expect: Alexander is Claudia’s fiancé (something he didn’t mention) and Claudia is not (as she claimed) pregnant with his child. From here, the personal relationships between the three are front and center, with everyone losing a few points in my connections with them – the lies and subterfuge were overwhelming. Fortunately, the story quickly moves from the triangle between Clementine, Alexander and Claudia to become a careful expose of family relationships and jealousies, the power and speed of love connections made during war and the choices, good and bad, that lead to life-altering situations. Claudia really never grew at all through the story- raised to be a woman of her time: married by a certain age to be supported in a particular style, she never seemed to want more for herself than the next moment that will follow that path. Snide, spoiled and conniving are easily in her reach, when charming and manipulative don’t always work. For her part, Clementine’s only real misstep was falling for Alexander: her desires to continue nursing and her sweeter more caring nature while her determination to take advantage of opportunities now available to women give her a stronger profile. Alexander, on the other hand wanted his cake and to eat it too. He wasn’t thrilled about the marriage, but also never thought to speak of it to Clementine. Yes, things were changing and men were scarce, but he was just my least favorite. Milton uses these moments and choices to lay out the story, the war is simply a background element that fuels the story’s conflicts with the immediacy that comes with an uncertain future. A wonderful debut, gripping and thoughtful. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
This book starts with a chance meeting on a train between two people on their way to a wedding during WW1, As it turns out Clementine is the sister of the bride. Home from France for the wedding and Alexander is on his way to being the groom. Claudia, Clementine's sister has tricked Alexander into marriage by claiming she is pregnant. Clementine and Alexander feel true love at first sight. This story follows their lives as he goes on to marry and just can't stay away from Clementine. There could not be two sisters further apart in personalities. Where Claudia is not really pregnant, Clementine finds she is when she gets back to France. An offer of marriage comes from the head surgeon, Charles Hamilton who falls in love with Clementine. Many twists and turns happen as the war progresses that you must read to appreciate.
This was a heartbreaking tale of two sisters, who thought that they found love; but instead weaved a tangled tale of love lost. Claudia tricks a man into marrying her (pretends she's pregnant). Her sister Clementine falls for a man on the way home for her sister's wedding, and never learns his name. Only, to meet him at her sister's wedding, as the groom. A tangled web of love between Alexander and Clementine, with Claudia trying to rekindle her relationship is added to the fray. A story which required the reader's attention to discover what is truly going on.
Clementine and Claudia are sisters but you couldn't get two more different characters. At the beginning of the book Clementine is working in field hospitals in France as a VAD and her sister Claudia is swanning around enjoying what parties are taking place and playing at a bit of social work. When Claudia writes to tell Clementine that she is getting married to someone that she has recently met she decides to get a pass and come home for the wedding. On the way home Clementine meets a cavalry officer on the train and after an extraordinary incident cant get him out her mind......and he feels the same way........so imagine their shock when arriving at the wedding to find that he is the groom! Claudia however has tricked him into marrying her so he is shocked when he finds out on their wedding night that she is definitely not pregnant and he has married the wrong sister! Determined to get the marriage annulled Alexander spends the night with Clementine and once back in France she realises that she is pregnant, feeling that she cannot bring the shame on her family especially as the father is her sister's husband she marries the Charles the surgeon at the hospital but can she ever get over the love she feels for Alexander? A lovely story of love and heartbreak with the background history of the war and I will be looking out for future books by this author
Piper Milton beautifully captures the style of the British romance novel of the earlier twentieth century. Set in the midst and immediate aftermath of WWI, Clementine and Claudia is the story of lust, love, loss, life, and death in the lives of two sisters, who are as different as night and day. While both beautiful, Claudia knows it and uses her feminine wiles to her advantage, staying home and leading the life of a young society woman, and Clementine doesn't, and leads a more serious and self-directed life, servicing as a volunteer nurse on the French front. Almost every character in this book has his or her life changed by a chance encounter between Clementine and a handsome British soldier on the train carrying Clementine to her sister's wedding. In a moment of passion, she succumbs to the soldier's charms, only to discover the next day that the soldier is her sister's husband to be. I can't say much more without revealing spoilers, except to warn readers to expect what you might expect and also be surprised when what you expect does not exactly turn out as you might have guessed. It took me a while to realize that the author, writing today, was mimicking the writing style of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, but once I understood that I was reading a book that had as much drama and language style as Downton Abbey, I settled in and enjoyed the ride. Clementine and Claudia, to sum it up, is a story of self-confidence, self-discovery, and just plain life, that should delight readers of modern romance.
** I received a free copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review** I wondered if I would like this book. Historical fiction can be a bit tedious and full of "info dumps". This book was nothing like that. The characters were well defined and the author did a good job creating a historic picture without boring the reader. Clementine meets the love of her life at the most inopportune time. The crisis of WWI certainly doesn't help and only adds to the desperation of her situation. Her sister, who is the exact opposite, is smack dab in the middle of Clementines' messy life and she certainly doesn't help matters. I enjoyed reading this book. It was one of those books where I wanted everyone to leave me alone so I could finish it. It was well written and developed. The only issue I have with it is the use of an epilogue. I would have enjoyed an "ending". That didn't change how I felt overall about the book, though.
Clementine and Claudia are sisters who could not be more different. Clementine is a dedicated war time nurse wile Claudia loves to party and only wants to marry well. when Clementine falls or a man on a train. shefinds out he is marrying Claudia, who has trapped him into thinking she is pregnant. Alexander realizes he has married the wrong sister, but World War I is raging and he has to return to the front before he can get the marriage annulled. Then CLaudia finds that she is pregnant. What will happen to all these fractured people and relationships? Ths a beautifully written, heartbreaking and engrossing book, a great debut for the author.