One of my tasks is to come up with new books for one of my book groups to read. Sometimes this is a joyous task, other times more onerous. It is worth it though for the occasions when I find a real gem of a book that I know would have otherwise remained a stranger to me.
The Kissing Gate is such a book. I started to read it because I thought I should, so I could finish it before the meeting. By the time I realised I was not going to be at the meeting because I had a day off, I was well and truly hooked! It is set in the First World War, and starts more or less with the Christmas Truce, and a meeting between a German soldier, and Hal, an English solider. They exchange token gifts, and Wilhelm, the German, asks Hal to find his English Fiancee, and tell her that he is having to fight in the war, that he still loves her. He shows Hal a photograph of her, and gives him a photograph of himself in uniform for Hal to give her.
In time, Hal is wounded and invalided back to England, and sets out, undertaking to complete the task...but falls utterly in love with Sam himself. He faces a terrible problem...does he complete his task and risk losing her, or pretend their meeting is a coincidence and hope she never finds out the truth?
It is quite a thick novel, but it whisks you along, so it is really quite a quick read, although not a light read. It gives you plenty to think about, and I would recommend it to anyone.