Hello all, this week I will feature a lovely series of books I found in our library. The main character this time is a young girl who lived in the English countryside and how the Great War affected her life and those around her. I hope you enjoy these – make sure you keep yourself well stocked with tissues for these books!
Titles: Come home soon, Wherever you are, Where poppies grow, The final ashes
Author: Emily Sharratt
Publication details: Scholastic Children’s Books; London, 2014 – 2016
What these books are about: In the first book, Come home soon, we meet our main character, Ellie in her little English village, Endstone in 1914. Life is dull there and Ellie dreams of change. Then war breaks out in Europe and everyone in her village is excited, especially her best friend, Jack. As her beloved father lead the village men to fight and Jack is desperate to join the ranks, suddenly Ellie’s life is looking very different. But as the reality of war comes closer to home, is it the change she’s dreamed of? From this moving first book in the Ellie’s War series we move to the new year, 1915 in the next book, Wherever you are. Everything has changed for Ellie since war broke out – including some devastating news her family received from the trenches. Forced to leave school to look after her baby brother, the only thing keeping Ellie cheerful is her best friend, Jack. But then Jack disappears, run away to war. Will Ellie ever see him again, or must she face losing everything she loves? In the moving third book, Where poppies grow, we find Ellie determined to become a nurse, even though following her dream means being away from home, family and first-love Jack. Ellie and Jack promise each other that nothing will change, but with Ellie’s time swallowed up by the chaos of a busy wartime hospital and meeting exciting new friends, do they stand any chance of staying together as their lives move even further apart? The last book in the series, The final ashes, we find a changed world since the Great War engulfed Europe. Ellie’s world has changed in many ways too. Torn between the excitement of her work in the city and her loyalty to the village she once called home, Ellie faces a difficult choice. And at the heart of this choice is Jack – her first love. Can they figure out a life together? Or are they dreaming of different futures?
My review: In this series Emily Sharratt perfectly captures the fears and heartache those who lived during these years felt as they sent off their men into battle, some forever. A rich story with many believable characters, set in a little seaside village in England. I truly loved the description and imagery used. You get a sense of what life must have been like for all who lived then.
The blossoming of romance filters throughout the second book onto the last. Jack and Ellie embark on the next chapter of their adolescence into their first love. I enjoyed the descriptions of the work the nurses had to do where Ellie worked in a hospital in Brighton. I hadn’t known of any Indian soldiers who had fought for World War One until I read this. Even though this series ends on a poignant note, it leaves our young couple together, happy, and facing a future that’s all their own.
This delightful little love story not only encapsulates the loves that bloomed and the lives lost but also gives voice to all those women: the mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, and lovers who stayed home, waiting, anxiously and of their daily lives and all that they sacrificed. I really enjoyed the simple story this series conveyed and would recommend it to anyone interested learning about life in the early twentieth century.
My rating: 5 ⭐