All The Same
To The Western Front With Love by Verity Slaughter-Penney is a powerful YA novel showing the futility of war.
The novel takes place in the years immediately preceding World War I and also from the outbreak of war to December 1914.
We see the build up and the early months from both the British and the German sides as we follow three young men – two British and one Bavarian. Both sides in war have parallel lives – young men brought up in the countryside with a love of animals and no desire to fight. They are medics, believing in saving lives not ending them.
The plotline is cleverly constructed as the reader is committed to the lives and welfare of all three young men. They all have families who love their sons and do not want to lose them.
The bond with animals is beautiful to see. The British pair love their horses, the Bavarian young man bonds with his dog. They believe in doing no harm.
Peppered throughout are snippets of information either about situations or men caught up in World War I. We are educated as we read.
The author also speaks directly to the reader on several occasions. We are asked to think about what peace means and what it looks like in war. We are told about those poor young men who were shot for desertion (much more likely to be PSTD) and we hear about Christmas Day 1914 at the Front.
To The Western Front With Love is a powerful read. We see that the enemy is just the same as our boys.
I will leave you with my favourite and powerful quote:
“My friend, I am merely a medic, I do not come to fight anyone, in fact, I cannot fight at all, I come here to heal.”
I received a free copy from the publishers. A favourable review was not required. All opinions are my own.