The House Of Special Purpose by John Boyne is a simply marvellous, epic, historical novel that totally consumed me.
John Boyne is a fabulous author who has clearly researched the Romanov family and their role in history. He has combined facts with fiction to produce a compelling read. The facts are extrapolated as the novel speeds to its conclusion. As a historian, I knew what was coming but was totally fascinated never-the-less.
The novel follows the main protagonist forwards from 1915 and backwards from 1981, until the two time periods collide. Both time periods are written in the first person and from the same viewpoint.
This House Is Haunted by John Boyne is a totally gripping historical novel that had me spellbound from the very first page. I just could not put it down.
The novel is set in 1867, partly in London but mainly in Norfolk. There are cultural references of the day to author Charles Dickens and his works and characters, as well as to other literary works of the time.
John Boyne has written a brilliant story using elements of the Gothic tradition – with crumbling houses, candlelight, shadows, unexplainable happenings. The reader is completely hooked as we read with baited breath to see what the outcome will be. The ending does not disappoint but left me gasping in a ‘wow’ moment.
Corrupting The Young
The Boy At The Top Of The Mountain by John Boyne is a powerful children’s historical novel that consumed me from the start. It is perfect for ages ten and over.
The novel is written in the third person from the point of view of young Pierrot who is half French and half German. It is set in the 1930’s and into the end of World War II. John Boyne has cleverly written the story which draws the reader in. We ’hear’ and ‘see’ the action through Pierrot’s eyes whilst also remaining detached to witness the character change. We are far more aware of what is going on than the character.
In Paris there is light and love and family. In contrast to the mountaintop which should have clean air but is tainted with deceit, fear and evil.
Stay Where You Are And Then Leave by John Boyne is a powerful YA historical novel set during World War I.
The reader follows five year old Alfie at the outbreak of war. The book is told in the third person but from his point of view.
Alfie is wise and brave beyond his years, recognising that he is the man of the family when his father leaves for war. He understands far more than the adults around him give him credit for.
With the men away at war and no welfare state, money is tight. Women have to have several jobs just to survive. Alfie does what he can to help.
We witness the impact of war on a community. The losses are felt by all, as the families dread the sight of telegrams or officers knocking on their door. Alfie’s mother wants to protect him and does not tell him the whole story about his father. This creates even more anxiety in him.