Follow After Me by Allison Marlow Paterson
Published by Big Sky Publishing
Date: March 2019
Follow After Me is everything I love about a book, and its brilliance ought to be celebrated. I was instantly captivated by the story which you can tell is quite personal to the author, and even though I knew there would be distress in this story I just wanted to keep turning the pages.
Follow After Me is a YA novel that is set over two time periods, 2017 and 1914. It is filled with letters – some of which are real, and looking at time past to understand who you are now. I appreciate books with letters and with any historical aspects so I know this is one of the reasons I couldn’t put it down. The other reason is that Allison Marlow Paterson is such a talented writer that she has managed to captivate the realities of life recent and past, yet meld them together to unveil hidden stories.
It’s 1914 and Evie was experiencing a life of goodness and happiness until her sweetheart, Tom, leaves for the war. She gives him a key to her heart which she says will bring him good luck, but Tom doesn’t return and Evie’s future is not what she expected.
In a different time, 2017, we have story of strong-willed Lizzie who is changing, rejecting friends and what she believes to be right. When given a project that means she needs to read her families old letters, Lizzie begins to discover who she is and how she creates bonds with the past, and peace with her life now.
Sarah, the mother to Tom and his brothers had quite the impact on me. We don’t hear much from her in the book but we hear a lot about her and her heartache just chewed me all up on the inside. Although I am not a parent, her grief, worry and heartache really hit a note with me, and made me think of all those mammas during that time and the distress they felt. When she did speak she came across as such a wise and loving person, and I felt a real sense of her character throughout the whole book, even when she wasn’t in a chapter.
Allison has done well to write a book that not only captivates audiences 14 and over, but adult readership too. There is a lot to learn in this book, the historical details portraying an accurate retelling of the 1914 war and onwards, and the Australian rural life. The story is not only about war, but there is love, and a coming-of-age perspective.
I recommend this book for anyone that enjoys YA novels, historical fiction, factual information and just simply good writing.
Thank you to Books on Tour for the opportunity to read and honestly review this book.