Conflict is a constant even in the many chapters before the titular war
appears in Helen Simonson's latest novel. But in most of the book, battles
are waged mainly with a well-placed retort rather than a shell.
The Summer Before the War follows young Beatrice Nash, a bookish woman
vowed to spinsterhood who, following the death of her beloved father,
follows an opportunity to teach Latin all the way to the quiet seaside
village of Rye...