It’s a long time since I’ve read a book in diary form and I wasn’t sure how I would find the format. Go Ask Alice by Beatrice Sparks was an impressionable book for me as a teenager and I remember how I became unaware of the changing dates as I became engrossed in the book. I expected the same experience when I picked up Evie’s War by Anna Mackenzie. However I was surprised to find that the passing days and dates added to the tension of the story and I found myself studying the order of events with a sense of foreboding or relief depending on the stage I was up to in my reading .
Evie’s War is a triumph for Anna as she marries the fictional life of Evie with the realities and facts of World War One.
Evie is a young eighteen year old, traveling to Europe for a holiday. In the beginning, the story captures the differences between colonial NZ and Edwardian England as well as the way of life for the newcomers. I was lulled by the gentile era, the tea parties, the ignorance of the children. but as war encroached on England in 1915, young Evie was forced to grow up in a hurry and I was jolted out of my comfortable reading. She railed against the constrictions of the day, the dress, the customs, the lack of equality between the sexes and Evie’s development was real and fascinating. The reality of WW1 in all its gritty horror was spilled onto the pages and it was heartbreaking to read of Evie’s loved ones being killed or injured.
Anna McKenzie’s research is phenomenal and as a zealous reader of WW2 stories, it was an eye-opener to read about a war that I knew less about. I would recommend this book to people of all ages starting with teenagers, 13 and older.