“Stay home and sit still”, Bayley Baxter-Kirby
It’s 1914 and war enters a young woman’s life. Evie, 18 and newly arrived from New Zealand, is forced to abandon a tour of Europe as the war consumes half the world.
Evie finds herself aiding the wounded of the war as a VAD nurse in a local hospital. A personal tragedy prompted Evie to change the course of her life. This led her to travel to Belgium where she would experience first-hand the horrors in a casualty clearing station, 10km behind the front lines.
Anna MacKenzie constantly drip feeds her readers information throughout Evie’s War. Her meticulous research of the Great War’s history and experiences, combined with the diary format, make the work of fiction accurate and personal for the reader.
The reviewer assesses the novel in the context of its genre as historical fiction.
Editor’s note: Close
Evie provides a voice through her diary for the stories that are rarely told: “they say women should ‘stay home and sit still'”, but Evie couldn’t and she saved many lives during the war because of it.
This is a seamless integration of a well-chosen quotation to illustrate the point.
Editor’s note: Close
Evie’s War is well suited for young adult readers as the gruesome injuries aren’t dwelt on in great depth. The diary format, however, does speed up the pace of the book, making it an easy read for reluctant readers.The large amount of characters restricts the reader from empathising with the soldiers and other nurses whom Evie befriends. However, Evie’s compassion and kindness sees that each of her patients leaves a mark on her heart; this is reflected in her diary. Although seen only through Evie’s eyes, the main characters are well developed and all with their own unique personalities.
This book provides a strong insight into Evie’s life and how she grows out of her innocence, but not her personality. An intensive read from an award-winning New Zealand author.
Bayley Baxter-Kirby is year 11 at Karamu High School, Hastings.
February, 2016 jane Scroll down to see reviews submitted by YA readers: Evie's War