Thursday, 16 April 2009

A Rose for the Anzac Boys

'A Rose for the Anzac Boys' by Jackie French is a wonderful addition to Australian historical fiction. It is also one of the shortlisted books for the Australian Book Council of the Year awards.

The novel is set in the era of World War One. Sixteen year old Midge MacPherson is at school in London when war breaks out. She and her friends hear bits and pieces of news about the war, including sketchy details regarding a place called 'Gallipoli'.

Then, Midge's twin brother is listed as missing, presumed dead. Confusion reigns - is there a chance that he is still alive?

Midge travels to France with two school friends to help with the war effort, by giving sandwiches and cocoa to the soldiers as they return from the frontlines. Midge takes a more central role by driving an ambulance, and begins to understand the full horror of war.

Jackie French undertook meticulous research to write this novel, and she was often in tears reading about the lives of ordinary people caught up in the war. She also includes a detailed explanation of aspects of World War One, such as the forgotten army of women and a brief history of the war. This, too, is interesting reading.



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