Friday, 19 April 2013

Isabella Rockwell's War By Hannah Parry

Isabella Rockwell's War 
Release Date: 23rd August 2012
Publisher: Hannah Parry
Format: Paperback
Pages: 288
Source: Received from Author. 

Synopsis: Raised in 1820’s India, twelve year old Isabella Rockwell can ride and shoot as well as any of the soldiers in her father’s regiment. These skills, however, are of no use to her when she finds herself on the frozen streets of London, orphaned and alone.

Tormented by guilt over the deaths of those who loved her, she vows never to be responsible for anyone’s life again. If she can scrape together enough money, she will return to India. But Isabella cannot shake the creeping feeling that something is not right; that something threatens not only her new best friend, but the throne of England itself. 

Having survived this far on her wits alone, will Isabella escape back home to India? Or will she stay with Alix, a girl whose fate seems to be tied up with Isabella’s own? A fate which will have consequences far beyond those Isabella could ever have imagined.

Review: Isabella Rockwell’s War is a novel that was submitted to me for review from the author and it was a very surprising and fun read. The characters were all solid and real, Sophie is an inspirational heroine, who I would indeed love to meet. The most important thing about this novel is the strong message about survival and the motivation that even in the harshest of times you can go on and turn your life around. For a children’s novel this is spectacular and very enjoyable. Even adults will adore reading this fresh historical novel. 

Isabella Rockwell’s War begins with Isabella running off in search of her missing father who is believed to be dead. He was one of two soldiers sent out on a mission and neither returned. Desperate, Isabella runs away to find him but gets lost in the Indian desert and starts to dehydrate. Luckily some soldiers find her and take her back to base. It’s here she learns that her nanny has also died and the only thing the army can do is send her back to England until she is of age. In England she discovers that things aren’t as they seem so she escapes to live on the streets but things are really tough out there. She knows she needs to find shelter and food or it will all be too late and she will never return to her beloved India. On the streets she meets a gang of homeless children who are kind to her but somehow she gets mixed up with the royal family and her dreams seem further away than ever. Time is running out and Isabella knows something isn’t right. 

I really loved the character of Isabella. She was strong and determined and had the will power to go on even when things were severely tough and hard. She was rather inspirational in the way she wouldn’t give up. She was a very strong character and one that should inspire all young girls. Isabella was a smart girl with knowledge of herbs and medicine and also the ability to protect herself. She had a great survival instinct; she thinks about things so far in advance that even the reader must keep up with her quick intellect and wit. In the novel she’s not just a girl trying to survive, she’s a girl who tries to help her friends and even becomes a protector to one and saves her life. She is a force to be reckoned with and I was pleasantly surprised at the strong fleshed out character that is Isabella Rockwell. I will miss reading about her and the troubles that follow her every step. 

We have many secondary characters throughout the novel and even they were very well fleshed out, none of them were flat which is great. The author must have put a lot of time into shaping these characters to be what they are in the finished product. My particular favourites being: Midge, another homeless boy who was particularly attached to Isabella. Zachariah who I wanted Isabella to end up with but alas it didn’t. He was the leader of the group and was very protective of his little sister. It was great seeing the soft and sensitive side to his character. You could easily see that she was his whole world. And of course there is Alix. The royal Princess who Isabella saves from severe injury. It’s her kindness that brings Isabella back into the world and together they are the best of friends. She’s a very strong character too. She may seem childish and spoilt at first but you soon see that she is indeed fit to be a queen. 

The historical aspects to the novel were really interesting, I loved the whole look into the royal family and the way Alix’s mother would use her to get money. This was indeed the case back then and it was great to see the author pick up on these things. You can easily tell that she has done her research. There’s action and adventure throughout the novel as Isabella battles to survive and then saves Alix’s life. While Isabella also plays detective in such a professional fashion, you can’t help but root for her from the very start. There are so many little things in this novel that make the overall book so good. 

I’m really surprised at how much I loved this book and really enjoyed reading it. Isabella Rockwell’s War is a really powerful novel with an inspirational young heroine. It is definitely a book I recommend for young girls as Isabella is very inspiring. Nevertheless adults can and will enjoy it just as much. I would like to thank the author, Hannah Parry for offering me the chance to review her book in exchange for an honest review.

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