Wednesday, September 27, 2017

The Red Ribbon by Lucy Adlington

Lucy Adlington is a writer and costume historian. I was aware of her non fiction books about fashion history such as the excellent Stitches in Time but I had not realised that she was also a YA author. Lucy has previously published a number of Young Adult books as L.J Adlington. This is Lucy's first foray into historical fiction and it is a fantastic story, deeply moving and full of intricate detail. The book is the story of Ella who must pretend to be old enough to work if she is to survive and as a talented dressmaker she is determined to work at the sewing workshop at Birchwood. We know it as Auschwitz. It is also the story of the people she meets; Marta, Carla and Rose. If, like me you believe in the importance of historical authenticity in children's fiction then you will really appreciate this book. It is painfully truthful about the horrific conditions that Ella and her friends endure. This is a story about friendship, survival and hope, about what it means to collaborate and to resist and about doing the right thing when everything around you is wrong. The writing is powerful and thought provoking. I found myself re-reading passages constantly and the characters stayed with me long after I finished. This is a book that I urge you to read; eye opening, shocking and inspiring. An incredibly difficult and yet hugely important read. Thanks to the publisher Hot Key Books and Midas PR for a review copy which I will treasure. 

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