Monday 29 October 2012

A World Between Us by Lydia Syson

Pages - 263
Published by Hot Key Books in October 2012
Crowds had never bother Felix before, so she was surprised to find herself shaking. She really shouldn't have come this way, not when the Fascists were marching. She realised that now. Stuck in the thick of the protest, she wasn't even sure why she'd persisted. Curiosity, perhaps, or something about the singing. Or just her stubborn streak. Anyway, it was far too late to turn back. She'd never get through all these people. 
Goodreads Summary
Spain, 1936. Felix, a spirited young nurse, has travelled to Spain to help the cause of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. But she is also following Nat, a passionate young man who has joined the International Brigades fighting Franco. And George - familiar George from home - is not far behind, in pursuit of Felix ...

As Spain fights for its freedom against tyranny, Felix battles a conflict of the heart. With the civil war raging around her, Felix must make choices that will change her life forever. An epic and moving historical adventure from debut author Lydia Syson.

I am not a great lover of historical books but I was intrigued by this one from the beginning. I was lucky enough to attend the Hot Key Books launch party and I got to hear the author Lydia Syson talking passionately about this book and the research she amassed while writing it. The author's passion for the Spanish Civil War made me want to read it. 
The book is told in third person from three points of view, each character interlinked within the story. Felix is the main character - she is a passionate young girl who is easily led by her feelings. She falls quickly for Nat, who has powerful views on the unrest in Spain, resulting in her following in his footsteps and  rushing off to join the medical team there. Felix is followed to Spain by  George, who was on the verge of asking Felix to marry him before she ran off. His rash decision to chase her changes his life forever as he comes in contact with such devastation.
The book follows these three characters over a period of three years, gently weaving their stories together as their paths cross on numerous occasions. One chance meeting changed the lives of these three characters for ever. 
I did find this book a little slow to get into but I'm pretty sure that is because this isn't the style of book I would normally read. However as the story progresses, I found myself completely swept away with the romance and relationships between the three characters as they struggled through adversity . It was like watching one of those epic war movies from my child hood. Simply beautiful. 
I loved the contrast between life in England and life in Spain during the Civil War, it made you appreciate how very different the countries were.
I warn you now the ending of the book will require hankies. It was extremely poignant and not the ideal book to read in company if you get embarrassed by blubbering. 
On reflection, I feel this book would appeal to any age. It is definitely a cross over novel which adults would enjoy just as much as teenagers. I am not sure younger teens would enjoy it as much as the older teens. 
The book feels as though it is historically accurate because the information provided is very detailed, although not too much that it distracts you from the story. 
Summing up, I felt that this book was beautifully written, carefully crafting fact with fiction to create a memorable story. It brings history alive, making it real for future generations. 

1 comment:

  1. I was thinking about this book today and was pondering ordering it - and now I definitely will! It's sounds like exactly the sort of thing I would like and I'm looking for YA with a political backdrop at the moment - thanks Viv!


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