Flora’s initial settling in is filled with tennis parties, picnics and dancing. But the war is underway in France and Flora’s innocent and enjoyable life is nearing an end, for fighting breaks out in the Dardanelles. When Flora learns to drive, she has no idea that her skills will be used in more distressing circumstances. Flora and her friend Gwen become civilian volunteers, called on to drive the wounded soldiers from the trains to the converted hospitals.
The two girls’ lives undergo a drastic change. With no experience of suffering and death they are thrown into a quagmire of bleeding bodies and amputated limbs. Gwen struggles, but Flora’s acceptance of her new role reveals great strength and compassion as the wounded pour in from the Dardenelles and Gallipoli, then from Lone Pine.
Based on fact with powerful descriptions of war and its carnage, this historical novel shows the difficult, demanding and significant roles that many very young women moved into due to the war. The harsh circumstances and a certain loss of innocence are juxtaposed superbly with the pureness and comfort of Flora and Gwen’s life before the wounded started arriving in Cairo.
- this review by Anastasia
Title: Flora’s War
Author: Pamela Rushby
Publisher: Ford Street, $18.95 RRP
Publication Date: August 2013
For ages: 11+
Type: Middle Fiction