Two aspects of this book were especially pleasing to me, and all the more so because they are usually missing in most fiction. These are the careful attention paid to history, and the loving depictions of the simple pleasures of life.
Love of the Ordinary
It is rare for a work of fiction to be so concerned about historical details, but it is even rarer for it to have a love of the ordinary. What exactly does this mean? And how can a spy story—by definition beyond the everyday experience of most of us—celebrate the joys of ordinary life?
C. S. Lewis described this love of ordinary experiences in his autobiography Surprised by Joy. “The very qualities which had previously deterred me from such book Arthur taught me to see as their charm. What I would have called their ‘stodginess’ or ‘ordinariness’ he called ‘homeliness’—a key word in his imagination. He did not mean merely Domesticity, though that came into it. He meant the rooted quality which attaches them to all our simple experiences, to weather, food, the family, the neighborhood.” (Surprised by Joy, pg. 146)
Lewis’s books are full of this love of the ordinary, simple pleasures of life, such as the delicious dinner the Pevensies enjoy at the Beavers’ house. I was pleased that War of Loyalties is full of this love of simple joys as well. It breathes throughout the entire book in descriptions of tea and wood fires, in the strength and support that Charlotte Dorroll offers to her husband Ben. But this concept comes into sharpest focus when Benjamin Dorroll is staying at the house of old family friends, the O’Seans. The description of their familial loyalty and comfortable friendship in the midst of war and spies and tangled loyalties is well done.
Purchase it at: https://www.amazon.com/War-Loyalties-Folkestone-Files-1/dp/0692970541/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1523048612&sr=1-1. (I do not make any money off the sale of this book)