Saturday, June 13

Book Review: The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion

Title: The Good Soldier: A Tale of Passion

Author: Ford Madox Ford

Pages: 229

Summary: Our only window on the strange tangle of events surrounding Ashburnham is provided by his friend, the husband he deceives. Ford’s narrator entrusts us with everything he can remember, and these memories weave themselves into one of the most extraordinary tales of passion and betrayal ever told.

My Rating: 7.5/10

What I liked/disliked about the book: Although the genre of love and adultery usually isn’t my forte I did enjoy this book. The reason I picked this book up was because I needed a choice for the “Decades Challenge” for 1910-1919 and picked it based on the title. I thought it was a war themed book, and didn’t give the book much thought, until I nabbed it in the library and brought it home. So to begin with, I was a little reluctant to read it, and almost gave up after the first chapter. I’m glad I kept reading. I was drawn in very quickly and had a hard time putting the book down.
What made this book so well done, and what pulled me in was Ford’s narrative. He has a very wonderful and elegant flow, and there is something extra in how he is able to tell a story and pull you in, which was one of the reasons why I kept reading the book instead of giving up on it like I had planned.

The story follows a deceived husband and the man who deceived him. Ashburnham is a man who has multiple affairs, including one with the narrator’s wife. The story follows the lives of the people and how the affair affects all the different parties involved, and some desperate measures they take to solve or absolve themselves.

One of my favourite aspects of the story is how the narrator addresses the reader, as “the silent listener” it made it more personal for the reader, as well as the story teller. I got the feeling that this poor narrator was pouring his heart out to some silent person, about all of his sufferings from those he loved. What I didn’t like was the themes of adultery, because it’s the same story you see over and over. Adulterous man/women destroying the lives with either the husband/wife who is left watching there spouse destroy them emotionally etc.

The way the story was told, was what saved the story for me. Because the story was told years after the fact, so the narrator tells it through what is left in his memory. Parts are probably jumbled or left out, but it gave the story an interesting twist then what you normally see in the genre. Overall the story surprised me, and I’m glad I stuck with it.

Would I recommend it to read: I would recommend the book to read to select readers. Those of you who enjoy romance, or that old English/British narrative style you seen in books like the Scarlet Letter or Jane Austen's work. But if you are not a fan of the style of writing, you may want to try something else. Looking at other reviews that was one of the biggest criticisms of the book, was the writng style. But, if you are on the fense, give it a try, the book may surprise you like it did for me.

What to read next: The Scarlet Letter, Glimpses of the Moon

Challenges: 100+ Challenge, The Classics Challenge, Decades Challenge, New Author Challenge


  1. I've never read anything by this author. I had trouble coming up with a selection for my 1910s decade...

  2. If you haven't found one yet, this is a good choice.

  3. I love your review. It was so personal and upfront.

  4. This does sound interesting, great review.
    I am a big fan of Jane Austen, so think I might like this one. I'll have to add it to my wish list.

  5. I have never heard of this book, but your review makes it sound like something I would enjoy. I am not a huge fan of adultery as a plot point of literature, but it sounds as though there is much more to the book. Great review!

  6. Zilbie - I'm not a fan of the adultery plotlines either, but this was very well written.

    Nadia - it has a great flow like some of Austen's work, so if you enjoyed the style, you should enjoy the style of this book.