In June 1915, Midge Macpherson receives a letter from her twin Tim, who is serving at Gallipoli, but soon learns that he is missing presumed dead Sure it s all been a mistake and wanting to help the war effort , Midge and her friends Anne and Ethel decide to head to France to set up a canteen to serve soldiers heading to and from the battle line Midge can also use this as a chance to ask anyone who may have served to Tim what had happened to him But France and the war isn t as glorious as those back home are lead to believe every night, ambulance after ambulance arrives at the train station, laying out stretchers of hundreds of injured men waiting for the hospital trains to take them away from the front New Zealander Midge soon meets some Aussies and starts corresponding with Harry Harrison, a sheep farmer from Biscuit Creek Soon, Midge is thrust into the carnage, first in as an ambulance driver, then in one of the causality camps, seeing the real horrors of the war And when the day finally comes to go home, back to New Zealand, Midge realises how much the war has changed not only her, or her brother, but her entire country But despite the hardship and loss, she manages to find love in it all.
This was an extremely beautiful and moving story that shows the role of women during the war It wasn t just on the home front that wives, sisters and daughters were helping out the war effort, but also very close to the front line War novels always focus on those fighting on the front line, and so it s great to read about these same stories, but from the perspective of not only women, but those who aren t directly in the line of fire.
Reading this on the eve of Anzac Day really made the experience so much moving and immersive Jackie French has written such a beautiful story that s rich in history, looking at both the darkest times and the joyous moments of war At no time does she glorify war I love that this story comes full circle, showing the importance of commemorating those who fought in all overseas conflicts, especially remembering those who didn t return home Yes, this story is very sad, and there is a lot of loss I definitely shed a few tears but it s a story of the strength of those who fought Even , it shows the strength of the women who served during wartime, the forgotten army.
This is a perfect Anzac Day read, and I urge anyone in Australia or New Zealand to pick u this book But of course, this isn t a book just for the Aussies or New Zealanders Anyone can enjoy this story and the message behind it I highly recommend it, and will definitely read it again around Anzac Day A Rose for the ANZAC Boys Is about the forgotten army of WWI The army of women who volunteered their time, supplies, skills and lives to help all the troops that went to war This story is told through the eyes of a courageous girl called Midge Macpherson who gets sent to a school in England to become a lady, after her two brothers Tim and Dougie have headed off to war Midge befriends two girls Ethyl and Anne at her school in England and the three of them decided that they are sick and tired of sitting around and they want the adventure and excitement that the war has to offer So the three girls set off to France where they start up a canteen for the wounded soldiers and soldiers heading out to the front line To their horror they realize the carnage and devastation the war really is and that it s not the big adventure they thought it would be Midge also becomes an ambulance driver as well as a nurse and sees things than she should have Midge also learns the sad truth that the army were disapproving of those soldiers who got shell shock and wouldn t even give the soldiers the pensions they deserved and at times they were even sending these poor victims back into the front line This book shows the great bonds of Midge and her friends as well as the bonds that can develop with strangers Throughout the book there are letters written to midge from her relative s friends and soldiers as well as the letters midge has written to them The letters really make you feel that you are back in the early 1900s experiencing the war I believe this book is truly inspiring as it shows the courage and strength that the women went through during the war And how poorly they were recognized even though without these heroic women many man would have died I highly recommend this book it will make you truly admire these wonderful women.
The War To End All Wars , As Seen Through The Eyes Of Three Young WomenIt Is War Is Being Fought On A Horrific Scale In The Trenches Of France, But It Might As Well Be A World Away From Sixteen Year Old New Zealander Midge Macpherson, At School In England Learning To Be A Young Lady But The War Is Coming Closer Midge S Brothers Are In The Army, And Her Twin, Tim, Is Listed As Missing In The Devastating Defeat Of The ANZAC Forces At GallipoliDesperate To Do Their Bit And Avoid The Boredom Of School And The Restrictions Of Society Midge And Her Friends Ethel And Anne Start A Canteen In France, Caring For The Endless Flow Of Wounded Soldiers Returning From The Front Midge, Recruited By The Over Stretched Ambulance Service, Is Thrust Into Carnage And Scenes Of Courage She Could Never Have Imagined And When The War Is Over, All Three Girls And Their ANZAC Boys As Well Discover That Even Going Home Can Be Both Strange And WonderfulExhaustively Researched But Written With The Lightest Of Touches, This Is Jackie French At Her Very Best I looooooooooooved this book.
what else can I say Reread April 2019I still love this book The raw reality that the author translated onto the page gives the reader a glimpse into the pain, tragedy, trauma and loss of World War 1.
The letters that are dispersed throughout the book add interest and I found myself pouring over them.
There was some liquid welling up in my eyes at one point too.
Yes, this is a great WW1 book Like is not the word I would choose to use for the subject of war, but this novel is one that helps to introduce young readers to the subject of World War I It also highlights the contributions that women of all ages and backgrounds made to the war I am pleased to know that it is on many High School s readings lists.
This is a beautiful, if often confronting novel.
Plenty has been written about the Australian and New Zealand experience during World War One, both in the realms of fiction and non fiction Few authors, though, have explored the often untold story of those behind the fronts, those women and volunteers who weren t official , but who lived, died, suffered and endured almost as much as the men in the trenches.
That French, one of Australia s most loved and most diverse authors for children and young people, has been able to capture with such engagement this story, and to relate it not just to the Australian experience, but to the universal experience of war, is an enormous achievement.
The novel was recently, and quite deservedly, shortlisted in the older reader s category of this year s Children s Book Council of Australia Book of the Year awards While I have a vested interest in it not winning, this year around, I really hope it comes second And if not, it s a book I d happily come in behind, if needs be A sweet book, war should never be repeated History is one of my favourite things to spend time on in the whole world I think it s important to take a little time to appreciate the past and all the battles both physical and theoretical that were fought in order for us to have the liberties we take for granted today I love reading world war fiction but that being said, I only enjoy it when it s well written, as this book was Jackie French really spares no detail in her writing, using all the resources at her disposal to make her stories stand out and truly, this one did I cried so many times, finding myself immersed in it all, not wanting it to end The characters were three dimensional and loveable, the storyline was well thought out and planned I thoroughly enjoyed this one A beautiful piece of writing that I well recommend to anyone who enjoys historical fiction.
This is one of the most moving historical novels I ve found Three girls are attending boarding school when World War I begins Their brothers are sent to the front, and the three look for ways to contribute to the war effort themselves.
They set up a station canteen in France to serve food to the soldiers who pass through As the fighting escalates, their station becomes a transport point for the wounded, and in increasingly dire conditions the girls exhaust themselves to make these men a little comfortable and give them a little hope.
In such horrific circumstances the heroism, companionship and respect between the men and women is edifying The author conveys this beautifully without glorifying war itself, but also without the bitterness and resentment that robs heroism of its rightful honour.
Years of history lessons can t teach the gratitude and admiration for our ANZAC ancestors that this novel inspires.
Having been educated at an all girls school, I have always been told that girls can do anything This book proves that saying right and in doing so recognises the efforts and achievements of millions of women in World War One Midge pronounced Migee is a wonderful heroine and I m sure French has captured the spirit of the women who fought just as hard as the soldiers doing battle However, she has also captured the spirit of the ANZAC boys the Anzacs were the bravest, stubbornest troops around So far I m kind of making this book sound wonderfully empowering and don t get me wrong it is, but there is a much darker side to this book It is, after all, a book about war and although it may be aimed at teenagers French has not shied away from graphic descriptions of the injuries Midge sees as she serves cocoa to the soldiers and transports them in ambulances She also does not attempt to gloss over the hell on earth that Midge encounters near the front lines Two rows of tables Ordinary tables, like the kitchen table back home But these were draped with sheets, not a tablecloth, and decorated with blood instead of teapots, and on each table, instead of a plate biscuits, was a living, bleeding man And still the wounded came staggering along the village street, on foot now as well as in the carts, an endless procession, desperate to reach the station and a hospital train, a doctor s hands.
The amount of research that has gone into this book really shows and the Author s Notes at the end are insightful It is very interesting to note that four young girls did indeed set up a canteen at a railway in France and that while this book may not be true, it is based on true events Amongst the moments of heartbreak and sadness in this book there were moments of love, laughter, strength and defiance A beautiful and truly thought provoking novel One end of the cemetery was mud, the white crosses the only brightness But the other, where the graves were months rather than weeks or days old, was a mass of flowers poppies and yellow mustard flowers dancing between the wooden crosses as though to replace the flowers the mothers, wives and sisters might have bought This book was read to commemorate ANZAC Day This review and many can be found at Maree s Musings.