A Rose for the Anzac Boys, by Jackie French
Rating: 8.5 / 10
A Rose for the Anzac Boys begins in 1975 with a boy named Lachlan pushing his grandpa, a retired war veteran, up a hill to place a rose on the memorial at the Anzac service. The book then switches to 50 years earlier, when “Midge” MacPherson and her friends start a canteen in France to help with the war effort. They soon find themselves thrust into desperate and heartbreaking situations and when the war ends, they know that their lives will never be the same again.
I love historical fiction and the way Jackie French can knit a story that makes me feel like I’ve been there in that situation. The characterisation in this book was superb, and each character had their own distinct voice. I especially liked Harry and Midge and their courage throughout.
The book was not full of gore like many war books are – it glossed over some experiences to make it more suitable for younger readers – but it showed very clearly the effect war has on people, which was undoubtedly the aim.
I absolutely loved the ending, of both Midge’s story and the epilogue. It was perfect and so clever and just brought everything together. Overall this was a beautiful book with amazing characterisation and I highly recommend it.