Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

Flora's War

Academic journal article Literacy Learning: The Middle Years

Flora's War

Article excerpt

Title: Flora's war

Author: Pamela Rushby

Publisher: Ford Street Publishing, 2013

[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

Rushby succeeds where many authors fail--immediately engaging the reader in the setting and story as it is about to unfold. Her descriptions are vivid, without being melodramatic, and her characters are real, each with their own set of idiosyncrasies.

Flora, the daughter of an archaeologist, travels to Cairo annually to participate in the digs, as organised by Mr Khalid, a mysterious figure who seems to know everything about the goings on of Cairo, while reflecting the progressive mind of a western European gentleman. It is 1915. Sixteen-year-old Flora is excited about her first trip to Cairo as a lady, after being sent by Aunt Helen with her first corset, finally able to experience the social night life of Cairo with her best friend Gwen, from Boston. Instead, they find themselves caught up in the war and all the societal and emotional issues that come with it. Firstly, they must vacate their regular hotel as it is taken over by the Australian Army as a hospital for the duration of the war. Then they are volunteered into the service of Lady Bellamy and her Rest and Recreation Centre for Soldiers, a quiet and proper place for the soldiers to relax while away from their war duties, before this too draws them closer to the atrocities one human can inflict upon another.

Cairo is a constantly pulsing city, even in 1915: a place where the war seems closer than it actually is, where one can become a lady but learn to drive a car at the same time, and where a young lady must learn to become independent with empathy. …

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