Though aimed at a target audience 25 years older than I am, I really loved this book! We meet 14 year old Rose and her grandfather who are travelling to Ypres to visit ancestors’ war graves, the day before Valentine’s Day. Rose has lost her father at the age of 38 only a year earlier; we are never told whether it was a sudden death, an accident or illness which may have explained how she reacted to the situation. Her mum is stuck in grief as is Rose; though we don’t get to understand the grandfather’s feelings regarding the death of his son.
We read about the adventures of Rose and to a lesser extent her granddad Brian, all mixed in with a love story, realisation of the horrors of war, time travel and self-discovery. I will be going to Ypres for the Kattenstoet (Festival of the Cats) next year and will look up some of the places Rose visited. The time travel element is skilfully handled, leaving the reader to decide for themselves the actual mechanics of it. Wonderfully written and evocatively described. I just love Tommy.
The reason I haven’t given it a full 5 stars is that the use of the nickname “Cabbage” (Yes, we have all heard of cabbage roses, we get it!) was just too repetitive and too much for me.
The lovely twist at the end is just fantastic. This is a keeper and one I will read again. 4.75 stars.