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War Girls: A Collection of First World War…

War Girls: A Collection of First World War Stories Through the Eyes of… (2014)

by Adèle Geras (Editor)

Other authors: Theresa Breslin (Contributor), Melvin Burgess (Contributor), Berlie Doherty (Contributor), Anne Fine (Contributor), Adèle Geras (Contributor)4 more, Mary Hooper (Contributor), Rowena House (Contributor), Sally Nicholls (Contributor), Matt Whyman (Contributor)

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This is an impressive collection of short stories, aimed at the “Young Adult” market, about the impact on young women of the First World War. Each of these well-written, engaging and thought-provoking stories was written by well-known authors, including Anne Fine, Adele Geras, Sally Nicholls and Melvin Burgess, with various themes offering very different slant on the impact the war had on women’s lives. The norm is for the war to be written about from the point of view of the suffering endured by men and the bravery they displayed during this period of conflict. However, this glimpse into the lives of what young women endured, of the actions some of them took to play a more active part in the war, of their day to day persistence and courage, creates a vivid picture of the contributions so many of them made, as well as the courage and bravery they too displayed. These are stories about spies, nurses, shop-girls, farm-workersThe young women portrayed come from a range of backgrounds but what all have in common is a desire not only to “do their bit”, but also to use their experiences to achieve a greater independence than they would otherwise have been able to. I particularly enjoyed the way in which the stories portrayed the huge social upheaval which came about as a result of the war and explored both the immediate, and the long-term implications this had on communities.
There wasn’t one of these stories which failed to move me but three stand out as exceptional in their capacity to engage me on an intensely emotional level – Mother and Mrs Everington, which captured, in a very powerful way, all the rage, outrage, horrors faced, absolute bravery and compassion of a young woman who put herself in danger at the Front; The Marshalling of Angelique’s Geese, about a young woman in France who was desperate to keep the family farm going (this also offered an insight into theory behind the origins of the Spanish ‘Flu epidemic) and Going Spare which highlighted the plight of women in the aftermath of a war which killed so many young men, thus making marriage and children an almost impossible dream.
A quote from Going Spare, by Sally Nicholl’s – “They didn’t just do nothing,” ….. “All those women. They changed the world.” seems to me to sum up why I think it is worth reading this collection of thought-provoking, poignant and moving stories. ( )
  linda.a. | Oct 5, 2017 |
This is an excellent set of short stories that go into detail about single girls during World War I, well most of them start off as girls but end up as women. It's full of tragedy and heartbreak and realistic treatments of what happened with a lot of these people who were at a life-changing part of the 20th Century. As Sally Nicholls says in her story Going Spare "They didn't just do nothing... All those women. They changed the world."

Theresa Breslin's Shadow and Light is about a gifted artist who becomes a nurse in the front lines, the end made me cry. Seriously this was a very good story. There is a romance but it's not simple.

Ghost Story by Matt Whyman features an older woman, a female sniper on the Turkish side, who takes up arms when everyone else is gone.

Storm in a Teashop by Mary Hooper is about a waitress in a cafe who discovers that nothing is as it seems and that the Front can be at home.

The Marshalling of Angelique's Geese by Rowena House features Bird Flu and the implications of live animals with so many men at the front.

Mother and Mrs Everington by Melvin Burgess is a story of learning what real courage is and how much harder it is to talk about bravery than experience it.

Sky Dancer by Berlie Doherty is again about perception, the perception of a girl whose pilot boyfriend disappears and then she goes to the front to entertain the troops, finding out what the reality is of the situation. The last paragraph almost broke my heart.

Piercing the Veil by Anne Fine explores the hope that spirtualism brought many of the people on the home front.

The Green behind the Glass by Adele Geras deals with a girl learning about the death of the boy who she was falling in love with but was engaged to her sister, and her experiences in Kew with him that influence her life and what appears to be her future self meet.

Going Spare by Sally Nicholls is about an older woman telling about her experience of being part of the Spare generation, going to balls with very few boys and finding that she could have a place in society, even without the "normal" place that women had, and that maybe it was these "spare" women who had the time and energy to make a lot of change happen.

All in all a good set of stories, heartbreaking in places but well worth a read. ( )
  wyvernfriend | May 19, 2015 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Geras, AdèleEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Breslin, TheresaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Burgess, MelvinContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Doherty, BerlieContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fine, AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Geras, AdèleContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Hooper, MaryContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
House, RowenaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Nicholls, SallyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Whyman, MattContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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Book description
1914: war has broken out across Europe and beyond. Nothing will ever be the same again for those caught up in the conflict.

This collection of short stories explores how the First World War changed and shaped the lives of women forever. A courageous nurse risks her life at the Front Line; a young woman discovers independence and intrigue in wartime London; and a grief-stricken widow defends her homeland amidst the destruction of war.

Through these and other tales, War Girls presents a moving portrait of loss and grief, and of hope overcoming terrible odds.
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This collection of short stories explores how the First World War changed and shaped the lives of women forever. A courageous nurse risks her life at the Front Line; a young woman discovers independence and intrigue in wartime London; and a grief-stricken widow defends her homeland amidst the destruction of war.… (more)

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