[Book Review] When I Come Home Again - Caroline Scott


1918. In the last week of the First World War, a uniformed soldier is arrested in Durham Cathedral. When questioned, it becomes clear he has no memory of who he is or how he came to be there. The soldier is given the name Adam and transferred to a rehabilitation home. His doctor James is determined to recover who this man once was. But Adam doesn’t want to remember. Unwilling to relive the trauma of war, Adam has locked his memory away, seemingly for good.

When a newspaper publishes a feature about Adam, three women come forward, each claiming that he is someone she lost in the war. But does he believe any of these women? Or is there another family out there waiting for him to come home? Based on true events, When I Come Home Again is a deeply moving and powerful story of a nation’s outpouring of grief and the search for hope in the aftermath of war.


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 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 the time passes three women comes 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 an 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 it isn't boring I am just not used to reading at this pace. In fact, 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 resonates 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 possesses.

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 really liked that.

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

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