The Rough Road
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For Marmaduke ?Doggie? Trevor life is luxuriously peaceful.
Living a cosseted, privileged existence in the genteel backwaters of 1914 England, he is secure in his social and financial position.
He is happily engaged to a woman of a similar background, who will help him to maintain that status quo when they wed.
In Durdlebury, it seems, things will continue as they always have; a reliable, timeless, dependable existence, handed from generation to generation, of which the town's cathedral is almost symbolic.
Doggie is 'delicate', a dilettante, a man lacking any real direction and purpose. In short, Doggie is the very human embodiment of the society he lives in.
The eruption of the Great War blows all of that apart, and sends Doggie and all those around him hurtling headfirst into a hellish new world that will change everything, utterly and forever...
Although he suffers pain, humiliation, spiritual and personal losses, in time, Doggie comes to see the Great War as the crucible that forges him as a new and better man. But can the same be said of his friends, family and - most crucially of all - the girl he has pledged to marry?
When Doggie falls in love with a French girl, Jeanne, who inspires him to heroism, everything that he once knew and valued seems to be in doubt. As their different experiences of war build a gulf between Doggie and his English fiancée, will his love for Jeanne prove to be Doggie's salvation, or will Jeanne's sense of pride and duty keep them apart forever?
The Rough Road follows Doggie as he grows, from child to man to soldier, and as the Great War forces him to develop a better understanding of the world around him and the people in it. However, whether that war changes Doggie and his world for the better, and whether it was a price worth paying, is a question that only the reader can answer.
William J. Locke was an novelist and playwright. In 1894 he published his first novel, At the Gate of Samaria, but he did not achieve real success for another decade, with The Morals of Marcus Ordeyne (1905) and The Beloved Vagabond (1906). Five times Locke's books made the list of best-selling novels in the United States for the year. His works have been made into twenty-four motion pictures the most recent of which was Ladies in Lavender, filmed in 2004 and starring Dame Judi Dench and Maggie Smith. Locke died of cancer at 64 rue Desbordes Valmore, Paris, France on 15 May 1930.
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