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The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick

Those who know me well know that I have a bit of an obsession with the Anne of Green Gables books (and anything else by L.M. Montgomery). I even dragged my family on vacation to Prince Edward Island on vacation when I was fourteen.* But as much as I loved Anne and Emily, my favorite of Montgomery's books has always been Rilla of Ingleside. I read it for the first time when I was 8, and there was just something about the World War I setting that just captured my attention*. And there really aren't a lot of YA titles on World War I, but when I can find them, I generally love them -- and The Foreshadowing was no exception.

Alexandra is a 17-year-old Brittish young woman when World War I breaks out on the continent, and she wants, more than anything, to be a nurse. Her father, very much a man of his time, sees to place for a woman of her "class" in the working world. More importantly, however, he wants to keep her "gift" a secret.

Her gift: She can see death. When she looks into a person's eyes, she sees their death. When she sees a vision of her brother's death in battle, she realizes that she cannot simply wait for him to die, and she runs away to France to look for him and to try to prevent his death.

The Foreshadowing is one of those beautiful novels that defies genre divisions, straddling the border between historical fiction and fantasy. Sedgwick's first person narratation draws the reader into this world, both into Alexandra's closely-knit family and into the world as it was during World War I, and his attention to detail makes this world very real to his readers.

*Though my boyfriend was convinced for years that I had been to a place called "Prince of Rhode Island" -- until he finally saw it written down ;)

*So you can imagine how angry I was about the Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story movie -- I mean, Gilbert can't fight in the war -- he should be in his 50s! And I so would have loved it if they had made a Rilla movie.


Little Willow said...

Bring it ON. I really liked his duet o' books about Boy.

Jackie said...

I'm SO with you on the Continuing Story. Ick.

Sara said...

LW, your comments always seem to contain more reading suggestions -- I love it, but it scares me;)

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