The Boer War was disastrous for the British: 22,000 of them died. Close to 7,000 Boers died. Nobody knows how many Africans lost their lives, but the number is estimated to be around 20,000. This tragic, and little remembered, chapter in history is the backdrop for Trilby Kent’s powerful novel.
Corlie Roux’s father has always told her that God gave Africa to the Boers. Her life growing up on a farm in South Africa is not easy: it is beautiful, but it is also a harsh place where the heat can be so intense that the very raindrops sizzle. When her beloved father dies, she is left in the care of a cold, stern mother who clearly favors her two younger brothers. But she finds solace with her African maitie, Sipho, and in Africa itself.
Corlie’s world is about to vanish: the British are invading and driving Boers from their farms. The families who do not surrender escape to hidden laagers in the bush to help fight off the British. When Corlie’s laager is discovered, she and the others are sent to an internment camp.
Corlie is strong and can draw on her knowledge of the land she loves, but is that enough to help her survive the starvation, disease, and loss that befalls her in the camp?
After reading Kent’s debut novel, Medina Hill, I was excited to do another blog tour featuring her newest book. Once again Kent paints a unique time and place setting that holds a touching message of hope, survival, and family.
Similar to the war-torn stories like I Am David, Stones for My Father follows a young girl whose life is dramatically changed by violence and war. Corlie’s search for the truth also plays a wonderful part of the novel as she not only battles the hardships of an abusive parent but observes a changing culture. The descriptions of Corlie’s homeland of South Africa, its people–both native and of Dutch descent– and environment are nicely intertwined into the heart of story. Though the book slowed quite a bit toward the end and I wasn’t completely satisfied with what became of our heroine, Stones for My Father is still a well-written (and very informative) book for young readers; I greatly enjoyed it. I hope Kent continues her story-telling.
Recommendation: Although I can mostly see middle graders picking-up this book, it does have a very “mature” appeal to it in which enables “older readers”, such as myself, to enjoy it as well. Recommended for ages 10+
Content: Violence, death, war (PG)
|Pages: 170|Release Date: March 2011|Publisher: Tundra|
|Genre: Historical fiction, war, 1800s, middle grade|
|Content Rating: 5/5|Cover Rating: 5/5|Overall: 5/5
➩Blog Tour Giveaway!
Here's your chance to win a copy of Kent's latest novel, Stones For My Father. To enter, comment on my review then
fill out this form. (CONTEST CLOSED)
- Open to CAN and US residents!!
- Ends May 11th, 12 pm EST
- Book will be mailed from publisher