Thursday, 26 January 2012

Stones For My Father by Trilby Kent

Stones for My FatherPublisher: Alma
Format: Paperback
Published: 19th January 2012
Number of Pages: 300
Book: For Review*
Genre: Historical, Realistic-Fiction, Suspense, Coming-Of-Age, YA, YA-Child Crossover, YA-Adult Crossover
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Mild Violence, Death, Swearing
No Alcohol, Drug References
Author's Site: Tribly Kent

A powerful story about a forgotten war, a family divided and a child’s fight for survival.
Corlie Roux’s farm life in South Africa is not easy: the Transvaal is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that even raindrops sizzle.  When her beloved father dies, she is left with a mother who is as devoted to her sons as she is cruel to her daughter.  Despite this, Corlie finds comfort in her friend Sipho, in Africa itself and the stories she creates for her brothers.  But Corlie’s world is about to vanish: the British are invading and driving Boer families like hers from their farms.  Some escape into the bush to fight the enemy.  The unlucky ones are rounded up and sent to internment camps.
Will Corlie’s strength and devotion to her country sustain her through the suffering and misery she finds in the camp at Kroonstad?  That may depend on a soldier from faraway Canada and on inner resources Corlie never dreamt she had…

Stones for My Father                                                                   Review:
Twelve-year-old Corlie Roux lives in South Africa, a beautiful but dangerous place.  Her father is dead and her mother is horrible to her, but she loves her brothers, best friend Sipho and the African bush. 
But everything is changing, falling apart.  The British are attacking, destroying Boer’s farms and homes.  Some of the men have made it into the bush to fight, and some families have been able to escape.  The unlucky ones have been taken to internment camps.
When everything she knew is changing, and the ones she loves are lost, can Corlie’s strength and love for her country be enough to get her through the raging war?  Or will she rely more on a kind soldier from Canada…?
I love, love, love historical fiction, but I must admit I’ve never read anything about the Boer War.  After Stones From My Father, I’m desperate to read more, and to read anything else by the author.  I fell totally in love with Corlie, with Africa.  I cried, laughed and loved – and I adored every single moment.
Corlie was amazing!  She loved inventing stories for her brothers, had the most amazing imagination.  And she was just so strong!  If my mother was as mean to me as Corlie’s was to her I wouldn’t half as brave as Corlie.  She was even brave enough to be optimistic, curious and always tried to help.  I completely fell in love with Corlie, who was so loyal and loving to her family – mother included – and so in touch with Africa.  She was just brilliant: I especially loved it when she was crafty!
The supporting characters were equally amazing.  Gert Roux, Corlie’s eight-year-old brother, was brilliant; I loved him!  He was smart, the “big man”, clever and sneaky.  He really loved Corlie, and she adored him back.  ‘Ma’, on the other hand, I did not love.   She doted on her sons, and was constantly cruel to Corlie.  But as much as I hated Ma from the word go for being so horrid to Corlie, I couldn’t help being impressed by her strength.  The question that bothered me throughout?  Why does she hate Corlie so much?  The answer explained everything, but didn’t really redeem her in my eyes, though I did feel sorry for her.  Finally, Corporal Malachi Byrne, who was a Canadian soldier, who was really nice to Corlie.  He was also one of my favourite characters.  He was so lovely, and it was interesting seeing him talk: he wasn’t sure why he was fighting, as he had never even been to England.  He was wonderful: cheerful and patient.
As I mentioned before, I really don’t know much about the Boer War: somehow, it’s managed to escape me.  Therefore I loved to see it through Corlie’s eyes.  It was terrible, obviously as all wars are, but it was just amazing seeing it through a child’s point-of-view.  To begin with it was one-sided (obviously, as it was written by the daughter of a Boer soldier!), but by the end Corlie started to see everything, and the individual Tommies soldiers were shown in almost as a light as the Boers.  Of course, she wasn’t a fan of the British as a whole, but I liked seeing the balanced view.
The writing was amazing – emotional, beautiful, strong.  Plus it was so Corlie!  It made me laugh, cry and fear.  The descriptions were just amazing: so vivid and real, as if I were there.  I saw Africa as I read; saw Corlie and Gert, saw everything.  And when I started, I didn’t really think this would be a twisty book, but boy was I wrong!  There were some I suspected, and some that completely shocked me.  As you’ve probably guessed from my rambling, I adored every moment of my time in Africa, even if I was crying a lot of the time! 
As for the characters, well, they were wonderfully done – they all felt so real to me!  They were three dimensional –just jumped right off of the page and into my head.  Some I loved with all my heart, some I didn’t, some I pitied, some I grieved.  I loved (most of) them so much!
A strong girl, a country crippled by war and a family caught in the middle, Stone For My Father was a powerful, emotional, moving, beautiful story I won’t forget in any kind of a hurry.  Corlie, Byrne, Gert and the soldiers on both sides will stay with me for a long time.  I’ve already informed my mother, aunt and cousin that they have to read this. Therefore: most certainly recommended (I only shove good books on the relatives)!

Star Rating:
4½ Out of 5

Read this book if you liked:
Medina Hill by Trilby Kent
 In The Shadow of the Lamp by Susanne Dunlap

Challenges It's Taking Part In:
Happy Reading
* This book was received from Alma in exchange for an honest review

1 comment:

Shoshanah said...

The only reason I've heard of the Boer War is because it's in A Little Princess. Granted it isn't a big part of the story, but that's the war that's going in while Sara'a away at boarding school.