Five Children on the Western Front by Kate Saunders
I approached this novel with some anxiety. Five Children and It was one of my favourite books as a child, and I care so much about the characters that it worried me to imagine them swept up in the horror of the First World War.
Kate Saunders proved in Beswitched that she is as adept at writing historical fiction as she is at creating magical adventure. She's done it again here, but this time the stakes are very high and the terrible price the war exacted from that generation of children is never downplayed.
Saunders is an excellent writer and a worthy inheritor of E Nesbit's social conscience. She is also a novelist who is unafraid of adddressing grief and loss. I was right to worry about the characters, but nevertheless it's an excellent book. It's about growing up without losing magic and imagination, and about how fantasy, enchantment and love can sustain us even in the darkest of times. Highly recommended.