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Black Poppies by J. J. Kennard
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Black Poppies

by J. J. Kennard

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For some reason, J.J. Kennard’s ‘Black Poppies’ evoked images from another book I love: Hemingway’s ‘A Farewell to Arms’. But Kennard’s book is in a class all its own—beautifully written and dripping with evocative verisimilitude, ‘Black Poppies’ is one of those rare books you’ll enjoy reading and boast to friends for having read it.

Set during the First World War, ‘Black Poppies’ is about the hard, difficult decisions a man must make—decisions that wade knee-deep in a muck of gray areas. Captain Robert Armstrong is a man of fairly reasonable principles, but what is thrust in his hands—consequences of what an unexpected parcel brought about—he must carefully decide and choose, even the most painful ones. I love how the author, Kennard, masterfully paints two overlapping “wars”: the First World War on one hand, and his private, raging, nonetheless seething private “war” over his non-negotiable principles. These two major threads of narrative and meaning are breathtakingly interwoven into each other and the way the book ends will haunt you days after reading it.

I love this book to shreds. Kennard writes with that rare emotional gravitas that transports you back in time and allows you to inhabit the story’s world. This book deserves a wider audience—and a writing award . ‘Black Poppies’ is a literary gem that I believe will be loved be generations of readers. A well-deserved five-star rating for this one. ( )
  jblazarte | Mar 14, 2014 |
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