Elizabeth’s War by D.L. Finn is the fourth book I’ve read by this author who writes in diverse styles – short stories, poetry and memoirs, and now, this children’s book in the historical fiction genre.
Elizabeth is eleven years old in 1917 and lives a protected life on her parents’ farm - she almost died as a three-year old – thus her parents and even her siblings dote on her, and she does not seem to be given any real responsibilities even though farm life at the time would have dictated differently. Her mother and older sister, Pearl, protect her and make excuses for her. All this change once her father and eldest brother join the war, and suddenly, Elizabeth has to face a few challenging situations over the next year and a half. She learns to cook, knit and catch a baby (all very hilariously told by the author), and she also deals with the loss of a good friend.
Plusses for me: The author shows the reader much – not just telling a story – inviting readers into Elizabeth’s world with good scene setting and dialogue combination, creating a living-in-the-moment scenario. I love natural and fluent dialogue supported by good scene setting, i.e. showing, making the characters alive and thus involving the reader emotionally. I love this writing style where becoming part of the story and living in the moment, enhance reading pleasure. Dialogue throughout is natural and fluent, and looking from a Middle Grade reader’s point of view, language is easy to follow, but still suitable for older ones who prefer clean uncluttered stories.
Historical fiction for children – not an easy genre to execute successfully – is challenging in that it is difficult to know how much background fact is needed without boring them with information overload while setting the different scenes. In my opinion, the author did an excellent job.
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