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Top Customer Reviews
What is fantastic about this book is that while the many adults pretty much universally fail the children, they aren't "baddies", rather they are good people trying to do the right thing in difficult circumstances. With the exception of Aunt Lindsay, you can really see why the adults behave as they do, but at the same time, also see why the children suffer so much. Highly recommended.
Communication seems to be a central theme and the value of stable family life comes a close second. Strangely I see glimmers of "About a Boy" by Nick Hornby and the need for Marcus to make more links with friends and family in order to have a sufficiently wide "support network". The same is very true for NS's children (while Lena the immature mother is very like Will, the immature man in "About a Boy") and the numerous adults in their lives are all necessary in their own way.
I'd read this book again and I'm going to read more of NS's work on the strength of this book. As a mother, I loved it but it can be read by anyone as there's a universal message of the importance of nurturing children, whether they're your own children, grandchildren, nieces/nephews or the children of friends and acquaintances, and it's all backed up by a really good, well crafted narrative.
Saplings follows the development of all four children, though we perhaps care most about the two eldest, and Laurel in particular, but we also get to know a range of aunts and uncles.
Nobody reading this novel can fail to understand its main lessons: that children need a stable home or base; that adults should not dispose of children without consulting their wishes, or at least explaining to them why they are doing what they are doing. However, "Saplings" is far from being overly didactic: not the least of the pleasures of this superbly insightful novel about children, is that one of the characters is a novelist who is famed for her understanding of children - but who in practice is fairly hopeless with dealing with them.
In short, highly recommended, one of the best books I've read in a long time, and one I shall probably reread sooner rather than later.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I loved reading her books as a child, had no idea she also wrote adult fiction. Thank you Persephone books for publishing this gem.
Nb. Read more
An excellent and very moving book, written by someone who understood the workings of a child's mind perfectly.Published 3 months ago by Mrs G M Jackson
This fine novel, published in 1945, explores in a highly sensitive way the effects of war on a very English middle-class, privileged family, the Wiltshires. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Richard Brown
Since the moment I first received my copy of Ballet Shoes on my seventh birthday, I have been a Noel Streatfeild fan. Read morePublished 6 months ago by girlwithherheadinabook
Beautifully written- on the edge between an adult or young person's book. A story of a family during the war- unaffected by fighting but deeply scarred none the less.Published 7 months ago by Maria
Very good copy - excellent service from this seller. Book very much of its era - not quite sure why so many raved/were reduced to tears. Read morePublished 9 months ago by K Mansfield
Brilliant! Real childhood landscape created with love and vision, incisive, tender but in no way sentimental. Read it.Published 23 months ago by K. M. Moore
A fantastic, thought-provoking study of the devastating effects of war on one family. Just as in Ballet Shoes, Streatfeild has the ability to truly understand and get into the... Read morePublished 24 months ago by Tegen Evans