I worked with Markham author Wendy Poole when she contributed a story to a book I was compiling for an organization I worked with. At that time, we chatted about her writing a book about her mother’s stories: her mom spent time in the Canadian navy during the Second World War.

Remembering: A Time of Great Purpose ($27.50, I C Publishing) is that book, and I was so excited and happy for Wendy when I saw it out in the world.

I am not person who finishes books I don’t like, even if they are written by people I do like. If I am not enjoying a book, I won’t read it and I certainly won’t review it.

This wasn’t the case for Remembering.

The book – part history book, part memoir – was interesting, and I have a number of questions for Wendy when I interview her for March’s Book Time.  

In her introduction, Wendy says her parents, uncle and relatives provided “actual places, dates, and events for the storyline, and elements of their stories are true. However, much of this story comes from my imagination coupled with hours of research over many years to add perspective to their lives at that time.”

The book flipped between main character Dee, the writer of the story, in the present when she introduces the reader to a character in the book or a situation. The narrative then flips to the story in the past using situations and events from the main characters as well as research about what happened in specific times and places.

And while that sounds a bit confusing, it wasn’t. The writing was such that it was easy to flip between the present and the past, being pulled into accounts of the Second World War from a Canadian perspective, which is unique in the books I usually read about the war. Actually, I think learned more about the war in this book then I remember learning in school. What this book also did really well was show how terrifying it must have been for those men. I can imagine the terror much more now.

I did get a bit confused about the characters and who they belonged to, but once I read further, it settled in my mind.

I would have loved to learn more about Ilse, whom I assume is the character based on Wendy’s friend who grew up in Germany during the war. You don’t often read accounts from that perspective, and it was interesting to do.

Remembering was a quick read – I finished it off in a couple of days – and an interesting one. I am glad Wendy’s parents shared their memories of war and Wendy decided to share those stories and give others “the opportunity to learn about the men and women – on both sides – who had lived, fought and died in that specific area.”

A copy of Remembering was provided by I C Publishing for an honest review. The opinions are my own.

Update: Read my Q&A with Wendy Poole.