From my publishing favourite Barrington Stoke comes this young novel to mark the one hundredth anniversary of the Armistice. It’s the story of three generation and the memories that unite them. Lily is a fell runner – fairly successful but never quite winning. To add to her worries about that is the realisation that her Gran has Alzheimer’s. At times she is still quite lucid but her health is gradually deteriorating. And then there’s Ernest, Gran’s Grandfather. His wartime story has been long forgotten but a chance remark triggers Gran’s memories.
Ernest’s story is fascinating, simply but evocatively told, conjuring up images of the battle-weary landscape and men of the Western Front. It is poignant in its matter-of-factness. And it is nicely interwoven with Lily’s present day story of rivalry, competition and worry about the future. In between sits Gran looking back and drawing the past into the present. Tom Clohosy Cole’s illustrated footers add to the sense of continuation that the story engenders.
I read this in one sitting as any confident young reader might do. But less fluent readers will not find it daunting, and the story is split into well-paced and satisfying chapters. This is ideal for personal reading but it would also be a good choice for a group read with much to discuss and think about between sessions.