Flambards by K M Peyton
|Flambards by K M Peyton|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Sue Magee|
|Summary: The first in a brilliant series set just before the start of the First World War. Highly recommended for older tweens and teens.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 224||Date: April 2014|
Christina Parsons was orphaned as a child and since then had been shunted around between various relatives, but her Uncle Russell decided that she must come and live with him and his two sons. The twelve-year-old discovered accidentally (it sounds a little harsh to mention that she was reading someone else's correspondence, doesn't it?) that the the aunt with whom she was living suspected that the plan was that Christina would eventually marry Mark, the elder son and the money (quite a lot of it actually) which she would inherit on her twenty-first birthday would be used to prop up Flambards - the Russell's country estate - which was falling into disrepair.
Her arrival could not have been at a more inopportune moment. Father and eldest son were obsessive about hunting, but Will, the younger son hated it and had just been involved in a serious hunting accident. This might have put Christina off but it wasn't long before she became passionate about horse riding and hunted regularly. Will, lying in bed recovering from a crushed knee, had other interests. He wanted to fly - and was already involved with one of the pioneers.
First published in 1967 and re-issued for the centenary of the First World War this book is the first of the four-book Flambards series which takes us through from 1908 to the end of the war. It's a series which has stood the test of time, having been in print for nearly fifty years and it's easy to see why. The attitudes of the times are perfectly captured, with regard to personal actions and the development of technology. At the start local travel was - for the most part - horse drawn. Cars were known and increasingly accepted but there was the suspicion that they would never really catch on. As for flying - that was downright eccentric.
You'll warm to the characters too. Uncle Russell and Mark are neatly this side of pantomime villains but not by so much that you have to reconsider how you feel about them. Will is gentle, but as fiercely determined about flying as his brother and father are about hunting. Christina has grown up having to learn independence, but she knows how to temper it to make life that bit easier.
It's unusual for a book to deal with such diverse subjects as hunting and flying in such depth and with such clarity. It's subtly educational but treads that delicate line between being patronising and shoe-horning in every bit of research with ease. Targeted at the ten plus age group it's a very good introduction to how the country was before the Great War. I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.
The teen who loves horses will enjoy The Dark Horse by Rumer Godden, set in the nineteen-thirties but for more about the first World War, we can recommend Stories of World War One by Tony Bradman. Flambards is decidedly better than Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame.
You can read more book reviews or buy Flambards by K M Peyton at Amazon.co.uk Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
You can read more book reviews or buy Flambards by K M Peyton at Amazon.com.
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