#Review Bia’s War by Joanna Larum #HistoricalFiction #WWI

Title: Bia’s War by Joanna Larum

Date Published: 7th August 2014

Publisher: Self Published

Genre: Historical Fiction


Who is Simon? Why does this frail old lady search for him by night, wandering the streets in her nightdress, unable to remember who she is and where she lives.
Her tale, told to her granddaughter when she is in possession of her wits, paints a picture of dark and dastardly events on the home front during the First World War.

The Inspiration Behind Bia’s War:

The lady on the front cover is actually my Nana Lymer in 1919, my maternal grandmother. My mother was the 17th of 18 children. My Grandad Sam was married twice as was Nana Lymer. Sam had 14 children to his first wife and 4 to my nana, although nana Lymer didn’t have any children to her first husband. I often wondered why not. Doing family history research I found out that my nana’s first husband died in 1917 and that he had been a soldier in France, although he died at home (presumably from wounds) Nana then married Sam, two years later. I wanted a reason why her first marriage was childless and the whole story dropped into my head one day. I changed her first husband’s name but kept the names of Sam’s children.


I was offered a free copy of this book by the lovely Joanna Larum in exchange for an honest review.

Bia Lymer is found wandering during the night looking for someone called Simon. Concerned for her health, her granddaughter Victoria offers to sit with her. Nana Lymer begins to tell her a story of her young life in Middlesbrough during the first world war.

Well this is not usually the type of book I read but I’m fascinated by the First World War, as didn’t learn that much about it in school like I did with WWII.

The story has two narratives, Bia’s recollections from the war and the 1970’s when she’s an old lady talking to her granddaughter Victoria. Having the story told to me by felt a bit like when I was little and my mum used to read me stories, which I enjoyed.

Nana had some fantastic sayings too. One in particular that stands out was, a lazy wind, it’s doesn’t go round you, it goes straight through you instead.

I loved Victoria, she really develops through the story, becomes stronger to stand up to her overbearing and rather nasty mother (also called Bia, a little confusing but lots of fathers name their sons after themselves so why can’t mothers do the same too?).

I also admired Bia, he husband goes off to war leaving her with no means of support. She manages to open her own shop, and with a lot of hard work and help from good friends she makes it a success. But not everybody is happy with this and faces a lot of opposition, even from her own husband!

This is a very emotional story, which had me teary eyed in places, especially when you find out who Simon is and what happened to him (I won’t spoil that for you, you’ll just have to find out for yourself). The only thing that I would have loved was instead of being told the story by Bia, maybe have actually gone back to that era, seen it up close, if that makes any sense.

It is a fairly long book (just over five hundred pages!) but if you love strong female characters and an emotionally engaging story this book is for you.

Rating: 3/5

You can buy your copy here:https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bias-War-Joanna-Larum-ebook/dp/B00KQRA82W/ref=tmm_kin_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1521996119&sr=1-4About the Author:

When I was a little girl my big sister used to read me stories, but she always stopped reading out loud when the story got interesting and I was left hanging waiting for the end of the stories. Ijo went to school to learn to read and when I could read, I left, thinking I could learn everything else from books (and finish all the stories!). Unfortunately, my mother didn’t agree and took me back!

I decided I wanted to be a writer when I was 8 years old and I started straight away, but I was always too scared to show anyone what I had written. It took me nearly 40 years before I dared show anyone my stories!

I worked in the Library Service for 25 years but had to take early retirement after an accident at work. That was when I started to write and I brought out Bia’s War on Amazon in 2014. Since then, I have self-published 5 more books, all set in my own corner of England during WW1.

Facebook page:https://www.facebook.com/Joanna-Larum-1472817529658573/

Author: Ljwrites85

Aspiring author. Mother. General procrastinator. Book Nerd.

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