February Reads

Another month has passed, and so it’s time to have a look at what I read for February. Pleasing to see my balance being restored towards my chief love – books for children. This month I indulged my six year old self and tracked down old copies of AA Milne’s poetry from Ebay. I loved rediscovering them and have moved from there to lots of other verse and poetry, so look out for them in my March list and beyond.

I only read 12 books, and several of them were short, which is a reflection of how busy my life has been of late. I’m a so reading a lot of journal articles which don’t make it into this list.

Those I’ve reviewed I’ve linked to, as always.

In Falling Snow Mary-Rose MacColl Allen & Unwin Adult
Red Fox Sandy Fussell Walker Books Children’s
Lost Voices Christopher Koch Fourth Estate Adult
The Rosie Black Chronicles Lara Morgan Walker Books Young Adult
When We Were Very Young AA Milne Dean Children’s Poetry
The Girl From Snowy River Jackie French Harper Collins Young Adult
Now We Are Six AA Milne Dean Children’s Poetry
Stories for 7 Year Olds Linsay Knight (ed) Random House Children’s
Unreviewed Adult
Rocket Into Space Ragbir Bhathal and Johanna Davids National Library Children’s NF
Topsy-Turvy World Kirsty Murray National Library Children’s NF
Catch the Zolt Phillip Gwynne Allen & Unwin Young Adult

In Falling Snow, by Mary-Rose MacColl

In the beginning, it was the summers I remembered – long warm days under the palest blue skies, the cornflowers and forget-me-nots lining the road through the Lys forest, the buzz of insects going about their work, Violet telling me lies.

When Iris receives an invitation to attend a reunion in France, she is determined to go. Her granddaughter Grace, a doctor, discourages her. Iris is getting old, and a trip like this might be too much. But for Iris, the memories of the ast are strong, and the invitation has brought back memories of her time in France during World War I when she found herself working in a hospital staffed only by women as she tries to find her 15 year old brother, Tom, who has joined up against his father’s wishes.

Grace, meanwhile, is facing her own battles. A female doctor in a male-dominated hospital world of the 1970s, she tries to balance her career with parenthood and keeping an eye on her ailing grandmother. When her husband suggests there is something wrong with their son, Grace is stunned. Surely he is just different from their daughters?

In Falling Snow is a beautiful, moving dual narrative, telling two seemingly separate stories. Initially it seems the link is simply one of blood – of a grandmother and granddaughter – but as each story progresses there are surprises, and the complexity of their relationship is explored. A second commonality is the idea of women breaking new ground, as it were, with the 1917 storyline showing women playing vital roles in war time, and the more modern tale exploring some of the complexities of being a female doctor in struggling with a male-dominated work place. But what is perhaps the key kink here is the impact of events in the earlier time period on the later one, events and implications which are only slowly unravelled.

There is so much explored in this book that it could easily have become overwhelming – with war, family, motherhood, women’s roles, friendship and more all important themes – but it is so well woven and told through the voice of the elderly Violet and the third person perspective of the younger Grace that it is just lovely.

In Falling Snow

In Falling Snow, by Mary-Rose MacColl
Allen & Unwin, 2012
ISBN 9781743311219

Available from good bookstores or online.

Killing Superman, by Mary-Rose MacColl

Scott Goodwin lost his father when he was eighteen but has never been able to accept that his father is dead. At his funeral, Scott refused to cry because he was sure the man in his coffin was not his father. Afterwards, he tried desperately to prove the wrong man had been buried and to find his father, who he was sure was still alive. Now, twenty years later, Scott has come to accept that he will never know the truth. Until he meets Emily, who offers to help him.

Scott shares his story with Emily as he falls in love with her. But when they travel to France and Scott sees his father on a beach, he has to confront the truth about his father – and about Emily.

Killing Superman is an intriguing tale about grief, love and lies. Readers will find themselves drawn into the double mystery, struggling alongside Scott for understanding.

A gripping read.

Killing Superman, by Mary-Rose MacColl
Allen & Unwin, 2003