I am embracing the fact that this year I turn 50, and to celebrate I decided to set myself 50 challenges.
My first challenge is to read 50 books over the year but the next challenge is to review them all. My confidence has left me over the past few years but thanks to some very supportive editing here is my first review...
The Skylarks'War by Hilary McKay
Brother and sister Clarry and Peter live for their summers in Cornwall at their grandparents, where they link up with their wonderfully enigmatic cousin Rupert. But September to July is governed by the expectations placed upon them by their ‘absent’ parents, and against the harsh backdrop of the 1st world war, life forces them all to cope and survive.
Rupert has learnt to face life with a smile through his time at boarding school. Peter’s future is set by the generations that came before, a young man unable to articulate his fear, desperately taking matters into his own hands…Clarry’s battles are on the home-front, she provides an enduring centre in an unstable, world at war.
Throughout the book it is the young who show a maturity of understanding- offering support and enabling each other to navigate the adult world they find themselves in. Hilary McKay beautifully parallels their coming of age.
I read the final few chapters on the tube travelling to a trade show. My absorption was such that the woman seated next to me caught my attention as i closed the book and asked what i’d been reading- my tears, despair, and ultimate joy were obviously audible.
A truly wonderful read.