Remembrance : Theresa Breslin

RemembranceRemembrance by Theresa Breslin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book, this graceful slow burn of a book is rather glorious in how it creeps up on you. It is the story of two families and how their fortunes intertwine during the first world war. And it is a story of doubt, I think, of doubt and of fear and of the odd tremor that comes when you find out that this is who you are and this is the world that you now live in.

And this is what you can do.

You can go to war, burning with the need to defend your country, or you stay at home, lost in your shades of grey, unable to understand the madness that has gripped the world. You can step out from the shadows of class and the restrictions of society, and you can, at last, choose who you are going to be.

You have a choice now, even if your choice is a decision thrust upon you by events and action. Growing up is hard. It has and will always be hard. But it is now additionally (and quite literally) a matter of life and death.

Remembrance reminded me so much of A Little Love Song by the peerless Michelle Magorian that I became quite breathless with love for it. It is a moving book, a slow book which almost turned me off in the first few pages, but is one that is worth staying with. It pays off. It pays off so much.

All of the characters appeal, but Maggie made me love her more with every chapter. I loved her. A shopgirl at the start of the war, and something quite different by the end of it, she is the fat glorious heart of this book.

I loved this. And I loved the amount of additional material provided both at the start and end of the book. There is sometimes something quite context-less about books set in historical periods. It’s hard to hook yourself into these worlds that are so alien from your own. And what Breslin does here, through her poignant little introduction, and through her research notes, is help to bridge that gap. This is an excellent and beautifully produced book. Timely, too, what with the anniversary of the start of the war being this year. Read this and then read Stories of World War One, and you will not go wrong.

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