29 April, 2014

Sunset Ridge by Nicole Alexander [Kathy, Birkenhead Library]

‘The troop trains would come in and the war fodder would be unloaded and begin their walk to the front.’

ANZAC Day is when we remember the sacrifices of our forebears, and this book follows three brothers from an outback station in Queensland who join up to fight the war in 1916.

It recounts their experiences and relationships in this time and in the future, when the granddaughter of the youngest brother delves into her family’s past to organise an art show.

Sunset Ridge covers a lot of ground – from outback Australia, to northern France, to the battlefields of Flanders in Belgium. It’s also set over two time periods and involves many characters and sub plots with a bit of mystery thrown in.

Despite that, it’s easy to follow and become engrossed in the stories of the various people that were affected by the Great War.

I particularly liked that this novel showed the viewpoint of the French soldiers, the British medical staff, the sweethearts and mothers of the soldiers as well as the Australian brothers. One of my favourite parts involved Roland the dog, based on a real French Red Cross dog named Prusco. I never knew that dogs were used to locate the wounded on the battlefields and was touched to see this ingenious way of making the most of the loyalty that dogs give to humans.

Very moving in parts, this book brought home the impact of war on families, whether at home or in a far-away country.

Title: Sunset Ridge
Author: Nicole Alexander
ISBN: 9781864712773
Published: 2013
Publisher: Random House

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