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Customer Review

on 4 April 2001
Born in 1930's Somerset country, Rosie endures a hard life caring for her three half brothers and father from a very early age. At the age of 15 her actions help to bring about the discovery of the murders of her own mother and that of her younger brother. Her father and eldest brother are accused of the murders, father is hanged and brother released. Rosie begins a new life, firstly in Bristol, then in London in a home for mentally ill patients and finally in Sussex. In Bristol she undergoes the Liza Doolittle treatment, in London she's instrumental in exposing the cruelty inflicted on the patients and gets a boyfriend and in Sussex discovers what she wants to do with the rest of her life. She also has to deal with her avenging brother Seth.
Either the author is old enough to have lived through the period she is describing which ends in the 1960's or her research has been prodigious. Certainly she has a well-thumbed "Encyclopedia of Dates and Times" on her bookshelf. Sometimes this is rather overdone. Equating the new National Health Service as a sign of a vibrant future several times is a little tedious. However Pearse's descriptions of conditions in rural England and the events in the mental home are very well written and all too realistic. In this sense, it is a very truthful and harrowing novel. It scores too in her understanding of the horrors and moral dilemnas which POW's in the Japanese camps confonted.
There is really only one criticism I would make about "Rosie", and that is Rosie herself. She is too loyal, too valiant, too perfect, too much. In real life she would be elevated to sainthood by the age of 17. That aside, I would recommend this book to anyone as a thoroughly good read and an excellent and accurate commentary of the social manners and events affecting ordinary lives at the time.
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