Alice in Love and War by Ann Turnbull

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Alice in Love and War by Ann Turnbull

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Category: Teens
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Amy Taylor
Reviewed by Amy Taylor
Summary: A story about a girl who falls in love during the English Civil War; it's an exciting, well written novel that you can't put down.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 304 Date: September 2009
Publisher: Walker Books
ISBN: 978-1406302448

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Alice Newcombe is unhappy, and has been since the death of her father five years ago. Living on a farm with an uncle who makes advances on her whenever he can, and an aunt who doesn't believe a word she says, and never really wanted her anyway – Alice dreams of escape, to run away and find something better. Now, with the Civil War on, everything is about to change. Royalist soldiers soon set up camp on the farm and one soldier in particular catches Alice's eye – Robin.

From feeling trapped and having no one to talk to, Alice finds herself falling in love. But the camp is about leave, and Alice, heartbroken at the thought of never seeing Robin again, persuades him to take her with him. She becomes part of the baggage train, following on foot with the other women who will not leave their men. Although the road is tough Alice is sure she has done the right thing, for she loves Robin, and he loves her – well she thinks he does, doesn't he?

This is a very engaging story. The plot and characters are well thought out, and told in a no nonsense way. You have room to use your imagination, but are also shown enough to help you create a picture. Alice is portrayed as a strong character, and the way she is written emphasizes this. She is parentless, alone, and on the verge of womanhood. Set in the English Civil War, there is a fine balance between what is historically going on between Parliament and Royalists, and Alice's journey within herself. On one hand you travel through England with Alice with the dirt and hunger by her side, observing the starving poor, meeting people from Wales and Ireland – seen by some as whores, witnessing horrific scenes. At the same time it gives you that comforting feeling, Alice could be any girl in any time, and it could even be you.

One thing I did have to adjust to and that was the pace at the beginning when Alice meets Robin. It is only a little thing, you later see that the author wanted to show you Alice's life on the road, but somehow I wanted a little more of them coming together. Call me a romantic, but maybe that was the point – it wasn't meant to be romantic. After this the pace does then slow down while still moving nicely along. Told in third person it stays with Alice to the end and is hard to put down and easy to pick up. I read it quickly and with ease. There is quite a lot of depth to it, touching on feminine subjects such as pregnancy, motherhood, childbirth, and miscarriage. It doesn't go all round the houses, but just tells it like it is, to the point, and you respect the narrative for being so open.

Full of friendship, love, and heartbreak, this book is an exciting read. It touches on every emotion a teenage girl could feel. I would read it if I were still that age.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If this book appeals then we think that you'll also like The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff.

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Buy Alice in Love and War by Ann Turnbull at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Alice in Love and War by Ann Turnbull at Amazon currently charges £2.99 for standard delivery for orders under £20, over which delivery is free.
Buy Alice in Love and War by Ann Turnbull at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Alice in Love and War by Ann Turnbull at


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