For those of you following the Orange Prize , here is another of the shortlist, see my reviews for Wolfhall and The Lacuna below.
This was fantastic It concerns an eight year old evacuee called Anna, who is sent to a large Yorkshire stately home. The owners have turned it into a temporary school.
The elegant Ashton's have problems of their own, Thomas is convined to a wheelchair as a result of adult polio, his wife is desperate to have a child. Imagine then the arrival into their lives of large numbers of children....
This is well written and Rosie really gets us inside the head of her characters. It is an amazing study of how disability impacts on a marriage, and then adding the lack of children and it is pretty intense stuff. Anna is nicely drawn, we see much of the world through her eyes, we watch her grow mature and become irresistable drawn into the events unfolding on the estate.
I also liked the subplot of her mother, suddenly finding freedom in war torn London and finding satisfation through working for the BBC.
So far this is my favourite book on the list......... it would make an excellent book for a reading group.