Have now read all of Sedgwick's books a truly great author. All the books I have read by him all carry the same gripping story lines that make u want more. I'm looking forward to reading more in the future
Reposted from my blog at https://vasusbookcase.wordpress.com/2015/08/25/the-foreshadowing/
I loved this novel. It was a classic story about the Great War from the perspective of a girl who becomes a nurse, and I particularly enjoyed the links to the mythical story of Cassandra.
One of the most interesting things about the book was the way the chapters are numbered: starting at 101 and counting down to 1. This meant there was a huge amount of suspense as I got closer to the end of the book. The story is well-paced, and I never found that events were moving too fast or that there was not enough happening. I found it especially interesting when Sasha goes to France as a nurse and sees first-hand what the war is like at the trenches.
I adored the book’s characters. The protagonist, Sasha, was very sympathetic, and her determination to control her own life was admirable. She also had a devious streak that made me grin, and I thought the way she reacted to her ominous visions of the future was extremely realistic. Her father, the head of a military hospital in Brighton, was fascinating: his prejudice against patients suffering from shell-shock was shocking, and his dismissal of Sasha on the basis of her gender infuriating, but to me he represented the very real attitudes of many during the time of the First World War. I also loved Jack, a bitter, angry soldier who shares Sasha’s power to see the future. But my favourite character by far was Sasha’s older brother, Tom, who is sensitive, gentle but surprisingly courageous. He also uttered one of the most beautiful lines in the book: “I’d rather save men here than kill them over there.”
Sedgwick’s message was distinctly anti-war, and the novel perfectly highlighted the disparity between what civilians thought about the glory of fighting and the true horrors that soldiers faced. While nursing in France, Sasha meets many soldiers who are desperate for a “Blighty” wound: one severe enough to get them sent back to England for medical treatment. Sedgwick’s beautiful prose perfectly describes the pathetic desperation of these soldiers and the madness of the war, and it was clear that he had meticulously researched the various places in France that Sasha visits. Sasha’s dreams and visions of the future are also utterly haunting, particularly the revelation she has as she reads a Christmas card sent home by her brother Edgar. I loved the tie-ins between Sasha’s story and that of the Trojan princess Cassandra, who was cursed with the power to see the future but never to be believed.
Overall, this was an intelligent, sad story about the First World War with an interesting supernatural twist. I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about this period (like me!) because I think it is one of the best in the historical fiction genre. Now, during the hundred-year anniversary of the war, is an especially relevant time to read it.
My favourite Marcus Sedgwick book so far (its the third one I have read).17 year old Alexandra has premonitions of when people are going to die. No one believes her, and they get angry with her if she tries to get them to believe her. When she gets a premonition of her brother's death, she decides she has to try and save him, and will go to any lengths to do so. The book is set during World War I, and has vivid descriptions of the horror of war and the horrific things the soldiers see and how it affects them. I am an adult, but the book is aimed at and suitable for key stage 3 children. I will encourage my children to read this book. It lost a star as I felt it got a bit too factual describing the various villages she travelled through, in order to reach her brother, instead of keeping up the suspense.
Beautifully written (as always from Marcus Sedgwick), this thought provoking novel will help to bring alive a small part of the horror and sadness of the First World War for the next generation. Brings to life the reality of war in France and the senseless loss of so many men on the fields of Flanders.
In 1915 Sasha (Alexandra) Fox is 17 years old, and lives in her family home, a large house in Brighton. Sasha has a privileged background. Her father is an eminent doctor at the local hospital and Sasha is from an era where young ladies were not expected to work, but to marry well. Sasha's future seems to be mapped out. However, war alters this perspective.
Sasha has two elder brothers; Edgar who is a few years her senior, and Tom (her closest confidant) who is a year older than herself. Edgar enlists as an officer almost as soon as the war has begun, and in 1915 he goes off to the fields of France to fight. Tom is not so sure that he wants to follow in his brother's footsteps, but he has some time to decide as he is not yet 18. Sasha wants to help with the war effort and after much persuasion eventually persuades her father to let her train as a VAD nurse and start work in the local hospital. However, a few strange events with patients in the hospital (Sasha has visions and premonitions of death) lead to her father preventing her from working there any longer.
But Sasha won't give up... And her visions get stronger and become more personal... There's just something that Sasha has to do.
My only criticism is that the paragraphs about Sasha's visions and dreams are not as clear and well-constructed as the rest of the novel. This is probably intentional, but annoys me just slightly. If you enjoy this and want to read a real life account try Vera Brittain's "Testament of Youth" and "Letters from a Lost Generation". Although "Foreshadowing" is aimed at older children, this is equally readable by adults as well! I can recommend it.
This was a really excellent novel incorporating the horrors of warfare in the fist world war, with an interesting slant on premonitions and foreshadowing of death.
Alexandra is a teenager in a wealthy family. Her father is a respected doctor and of her two older brothers, the younger, Tom, also wants to follow in his footsteps. As WWI breaks, her father expects his boys to 'do the right thing' and sign up for the war effort.
Edgar signs on to train as an officer while Tom goes to medical school (considered by some to be a coward's way out).
After much pressure, Alexandra manages to persuade her father to let her train as a volunteer nurse in the local hospital. Unfortunately her premonitions of the death of some of the patients upset her father and she is prohibited from continuing.
As the war progresses and the casualties mount, these premonitions become more powerful and more frequent. Inevitably they eventually include people close to Alexandra and she feels compelled to try to change fate.
Elegantly composed, thought provoking and informative, this book was extremely well written and I was with Alexandra every step of the way.
This is my second Sedgwick, and I'm eagerly working my way through more. What a wonderful and layered writer he is. I'm curious to see if the marriage between historical event, transposed into fiction, and the connection to myth and fairy tales continues in subsequent novels. This story of the First World War, and the journey of a young woman who becomes a VAD, and then goes to the front to search for her brother, is a remarkably clear handling of political viewpoints as they changed throughout the war; most particularly the split between a 'patriotic' population at home, who thought the war a good thing, and how the reality of the carnage affected the soldiers. Sedgwick beautifully gets under the skin of his intelligent and likeable central character, and the beginning of change for a generation of young women who were beginning to see their lives might be more than marriage and motherhood.
Sedgwick gives his account extra depth and resonance through linking the protagonist with Cassandra - hence the title of the book, as Cassandra possessed the ability to perceive tragic events, but her vision was a curse to her, as no-one believed her, and she was spurned and outcast for her abilities. Sasha, Sedgwick's central character, also has these 'gifts' and like Cassandra, they are visions of a time of war and conflict. The connection reminds us of how deeply wars are ingrained in our psyche.
Sedgwick ostensibly is writing for 'young adults'; his writing is deep and true enough to satisfy old adults as well. He reminds me so much of Alan Garner, another writer as mythic and satisfying for not yet adults and adults who have not forgotten their connection to childhood - whatever their age!
This book is quite gothic in some parts, sad in others and it captures the horror and brutality of war perfectly. It shows the dilemmas of Sasha a young woman with an extraordinary gift in the WW1. Sasha can tell how and when people are going to die, and when her two brothers go to war, she has to use her psychic abilities to save their lives. This book was so good that I read it in one day- I could not put it down. There must have been so much research on the part of the author to make this book as realistic and powerful as it is. An excellent read for teenage boys ang girls alike.