Book review, The Marshalling of Angelique’s Geese by Rowena House, in War Girls from Andersen Press

June 6, 2014 in Reviews by Irulan Horner

World War I, France, 1916

After the death of her father, 14-year-old Angelique Lacroix wants to keep her family farm just as it is until her brother, Pascal, returns from fighting at the front. However when her mother falls sick, Angelique has no choice but to ask Uncle Gustav for help.

When he finally arrives things begin to look up, until the army requisition their only cow and Angelique finds out her father left them up to the hilt in debt. Without the money to pay off the bailiffs, they face losing the farm and Angelique must embark on a difficult and dangerous journey to save it.

This is a story of ultimate sacrifice. With so much to lose in a world full of loss, Angelique’s choice to head into the line of fire is one of true bravery. Her determination outweighs her fear of what she might find on the front-line.

Rowena House captures the soft summer idle of rural France and then catapults us into the stark reality of the effects of war on everyone, regardless of which side they fought on. Her writing style is evocative and her striking descriptions painted clear pictures in my mind’s eye. I was there with Angelique and her uncle watching the moonlit flock of wild geese and I smelt train’s engine the oil and smoke on their epic journey across a landscape devastated by war.

Seeing France through the innocent eyes of Angelique captures the horror of what the First World War did to the men who fought in it and the women who supported them. This 12+ story is one of nine shorts stories in War Girls, published by Anderson Press to commemorate this year’s centenary of the outbreak of World War One.


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