Death of a Dove
Griselda Gifford is a prolific writer of children’s books, and her latest is aimed at the teenage and young adult end of the market. The heroine is the spunky and confident fifteen-year-old Bea. It’s 1915, and while war has begun to intrude into the lives of the people of the quiet country village where she has grown up, for the most part Bea’s thoughts are consumed by her desire to be an actress. To further that aim, she has taken a job as governess in the home of the Rossiters, a wealthy bohemian family, and it is there she meets Ronnie and falls in love. Gradually war comes to consume more of the village’s young men, including Bea’s brother, her childhood friends, and even Ronnie.
This is a wonderfully readable and well-written tale of young people coming of age in an era dominated by war. As they struggle to throw off the Victorian values of their parents and to transition into adulthood, the struggles, grief, and heartache are well captured by Griselda Gifford’s page-turning prose. Though it’s fewer than two hundred pages in length, the descriptions and well-drawn characters in this novel bring a vanished era vividly to life. Perfect for fans of Sally Nicholls and Sheena Wilkinson.