The Soldier's ReturnBook - 1999
When Sam Richardson returns in 1946 from the 'Forgotten War' in Burma to Wigton in Cumbria, he finds little has changed, as far as his own limited prospects go. In his absence, though, his young family has altered immensely. His wife Ellen has found a sense of self worth in her war time jobs, and doesn't want to return to her old life. Their six-year-old son Joe, accustomed to his mother's undivided love and attention, doesn't welcome the father he barely remembers. And Sam finds the traumatic scenes he witnessed in Burma have changed him too, making the confines of this working class Cumbrian town stifling. The result is a family in turmoil, which reaches breaking point when Sam resolves to emigrate to Australia.
Based on Melvyn Bragg's own family and strongly evocative of its era as well as the Cumbrian landscape, this taut and powerful novel sits firmly in the tradition of his hugely popular Cumbrian novels.