Subversive Reader Reviews: Alice and the Apple Blossom Fair (AWW2013)

Book reviews and AWW posts can be found here.

AWW2013 – Book 27

Alice and the Apple Blossom Fair

Adventures of a Subversive Reader:Alice and the Apple Blossom Fair

Davina Bell
Children’s Historical Fiction

Library Book, Moreton Bay Regional Libraries

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There may be spoilers for Meet Alice, the first book in the mini-series, in this review

 

The second of Alice’s stories takes a definite turn towards sadness, as Alice deals with her decision to give up ballet and the departure of her brother, Teddy for the war front. Just when things seem bad enough, Alice gets on the wrong side of her friend Jilly’s mother. Jilly’s mother forbids Jilly from having any contact with Alice or her family, and then goes out of her way to make misery for Alice’s family. And on top of all that, there’s a mysterious vandal ‘wrecking’ the town.

I really, really, really disliked Jilly’s mother. Some people might say that it was unreasonable for a grown woman to have such an attitude towards a bunch of children, but (sadly) I can totally see that, especially in a small town and under the stresses of war. Jilly’s brother was also particularly nasty, and I don’t really buy the ‘shell shock’ explanation, since Alice disliked him before the war started. With Alice no longer doing ballet, you can see her need to throw herself into other things. She goes out of her way to make their stall a success at the fair and when it comes to uncovering the real identity of the Vandal. (There’s also a cameo appearance by Lionel Logue – although apparently that’s a little historically inaccurate)

It was really interesting to read the second book in the series – all of the other Our Australian Girl books I’ve read have been the first books in the series, so it was great to watch the story build and the characters be extended. I’ve been thinking about social history and the recognition of women and children in history recently, particularly after reading Gold, Graves and Glory. This series is very good at mixing the big events with the every day – and by necessity the every day involves women and children. The every day, the social history and the people involved in it, need to be out there – visible for both boys and girls.

 

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