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1915 - Scotland. A group of teenagers from two families meet for a picnic, but the war across the Channel is soon to tear them away from such youthful pleasures. All too soon the horror of what is to become known as The Great War engulfs them, their friends and the whole village. From the horror of the trenches, to the devastating reality seen daily by those nursing the wounded, they struggle to survive. Nothing will ever be the same again. REMEMBRANCE is a powerful and engrossing novel about love and war, from the Carnegie Medal-winning author Theresa Breslin.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780552547383
ISBN-10: 0552547387
Format: Paperback
(198mm x 129mm x 20mm)
Pages: 320
Imprint: Corgi Childrens
Publisher: Random House Children's Publishers UK
Publish Date: 2-Jan-2003
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » This book about World War I, by award-winning author Theresa Breslin, works on several levels: as a love story, a treatment of equality between the sexes and the conflict between jingoism and pacifism, and a chronological account of the war itself. After rather a slow start, the pace of the novel quickens when the four main characters are drawn into the struggle, the two young women as a munitions worker and a nurse respectively, the two young men as recruits to Kitchener's army, one willing, the other very reluctant. Using the device of letters written to and from the front line, the author gives a detailed and realistic picture of trench warfare in France and Belgium and the conditions in factories and hospitals both in Britain and in France. No detail is deemed too unpleasant - this is strong stuff, although well-known. Less familiar is the theme of women's growing independence, an idea which is dealt with very fully and sympathetically. Maggie Dundas has always worked hard in her father's shop, but when her brother leaves for France she begins to resent the assumption that her place will be at home, behind the counter or in the kitchen. A series of bold decisions changes her life, opens her mind and shows her what she is capable of. Exchanging letters with 'Master' Francis, the young man from the big house in the village, she discusses the horrors they both have to cope with and the futility and waste of war. As the story ends with celebrations of peace, at least one of the couples appears to have a happy future ahead of them, but the overall tone of the book is, quite rightly, sombre. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Five teens from a small Scottish town become caught up in the maelstrom of WWI. The story opens in 1915; the war has been going on for almost a year, and no one now expects a swift and easy victory. The wealthy and well-bred Charlotte Armstrong-Barnes defies her mother by taking up nursing to join the cause; her brother Francis does the same by refusing to take a commission. Storekeeper's son John Malcolm Dundas looks forward to coming of age to join up, as does his younger brother Alex; meanwhile, sister Maggie begins to question the assumed role of women in society and starts to dream of greater things. The expected love interests ensue: Charlotte and John Malcolm fall head-over-heels, but their romance is cut tragically short by German fire; Francis and Maggie enjoy a slowly burgeoning relationship of the mind that becomes love as they take their separate parts in the struggle in France. New to the American market, Carnegie Medalist (Whispers in the Graveyard) Breslin's narrative moves back and forth to give each character's perspective, occasionally allowing them to speak directly via letters, but the two who come most to life are the theoretically inclined Francis and Maggie. Charlotte, having lost love early, takes on a virtually saintly mien, and Alex rarely emerges as his own character. A tendency to tell rather than show-"The jingoistic tones of the headlines contrasting with the constant news of death lowered [Francis's] spirits. He felt helpless in the face of what he saw as some desperate intent by civilization to destroy itself . . . "-keeps the reader at arm's length and hinders involvement in what could have been a three-hanky story. As it is, it remains a perfectly serviceable historical novel, but nothing more. (Fiction. 12+) (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Theresa Breslin

Theresa Breslin is a well-respected author, popular with librarians, teachers and children. She has won the Carnegie Medal for WHISPERS IN THE GRAVEYARD and achieved critical success with her two novels about KEZZIE, set in the Second World War. Her titles include the DREAM MASTER titles for Corgi Yearling and REMEMBRANCE for Doubleday/Corgi. She lives in Lenzie, Scotland.

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