Generations of girls

The Bookwitch Upheaval continues. In recent days I’ve been getting all my books from the dusty rows where so many of them have been sitting for far too long, and I am actually putting them in order on actual shelves. Though I do believe that I will run out of shelves before I run out of books. Even putting some doubles in a back row behind the front row. Obviously.

One thing that happens under circumstances like these is that you re-discover books. Not that I forget them or forget that I have them, but they slip from my mind.

I carried all the Ns the other day. I recall Linda Newbery saying how before she was published she had looked in bookshops and felt that there was a space next to Edith Nesbit where Linda’s books could sit. Well, that was true until Patrick Ness came along. He is now piggy in the middle, surrounded by two great ladies.

So, I happened upon this trilogy of Linda’s, that I read quite a few years ago now. They are The Shouting Wind, The Cliff Path and A Fear of Heights.

When I began reading them, I expected the generations to take in both world wars plus something more modern. I was wrong. It starts with WWII and continues with something closer to my generation and finishes with ‘today’. Grandmother, daughter and granddaughter.

The thing is, that at the time I was so taken with Linda’s WWI novels, that I wanted them to go on. And in a way they did, as the grandmother in this trilogy has a connection to Linda’s book Some Other War, set in WWI. So from that point of view I got even more than I thought.

There is something irrationally satisfying about encountering characters again, seeing what’s become of them, and so on. And an honest author lets his/her characters have real lives, which means it’s not always been a bed of roses since the book before. So the reader can be disappointed to hear that someone died rather early, or that the romance/marriage didn’t last. Or the child quarrelled and left home and they stopped speaking. It’s real.

Linda is good at this. Her characters always feel as if I might know them in real life. And this generational series thing could actually be taken a lot further. Start early enough, and it’d be possible to take in a fair bit of recent-ish history.

It’s books like these that will tell future generations what the 20th century was like. You don’t get that from wand-wielding wizards. The trilogy doesn’t seem to be available to buy, and Linda’s website doesn’t list the books either. But if you find them, try them. And definitely start with the Vera Brittain inspired Some Other War. (If only because you’ve found the idea of nursing wounded soldiers quite charming, by watching too much Downton Abbey.)

5 responses to “Generations of girls

  1. Yes, yes, yes – indeed it is books like these that will provide a window onto the 20th century. Let’s hope we see them on more shelves sometime soon…
    (Am also rather envious of your sorting of books, especially as I look around here and see too many disordered piles.)

  2. Don’t be envious. I’m merely moving the chaos and getting five seconds of near order. I’m already in despair over any more books entering the house, and even those about to be read have no future home to go and stand in.

  3. Oh fabulous. MORE books onto my Great Pile Of Unread Books.

    I also had the same sensation reading The Borrowers or thinking about what it would be like to read the Narnia books again…

  4. Ooo, thanks so much, Bookwitch – what a lovely surprise to read this! I feel as if my books have been resurrected. Happy sorting!

  5. These are the books of Linda’s I read before any others and they made me want to get to know her! Which I now do. They are fabulous and as you say, a picture of the whole century, almost. They ought to be in print and nowadays, with ebpublishing so readily available, I’m sure it won’t be long before they’re back at least to download. That’s the really good thing about ebooks: nothing need ever be unavailable again. Hurray!

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