Robbie’s Inspiration: Book reviews – Elizabeth’s War by D.L. Finn and A Wonder of Words by Leon Stevens

Elizabeth’s War – Children’s fiction

What Amazon says

It’s April of 1917, and World War I has reached Elizabeth’s family on their wheat farm in North Dakota. Although the battles are being fought overseas, the war has affected her in ways she couldn’t have imagined. Elizabeth is thrust into a new role after her brother and father leave the farm to do their part in the war. And she’s only eleven years old!
Having almost died as a toddler, Elizabeth has been babied most of her life. Now she must learn to help out around the farm; cooking, cleaning, and tending to the garden and livestock. No longer can she run from her responsibilities, as she did when her horse Rosie was giving birth. There were complications during the delivery, and Elizabeth panicked and froze. The foal didn’t make it.
Elizabeth faces her biggest challenge yet as a huge Christmas Eve snowstorm rages outside, cutting her family off from any help; and her mother is about to have a baby! Her brother and sister are laid up with chicken pox. Does Elizabeth face her fears or run from them? Can she help her family, who need her more now than ever? Or will she retreat like she did when Rosie needed her?

My review

This book, aimed at children and young teens, is the perfect tool for gently instructing youngsters about the horror of war in a relatable way.

Elizabeth and her family live on a farm on the outskirts of a small town in North Dakota. Although the war in Europe has been going on for over three years, it has not touch Elizabeth’s life. That changes when President Wilson’s administration declares war on Germany and brings the USA into the war. Elizabeth’s father, older brother, Douglas, and her sister’s boyfriend cum fiancé, Simon, all volunteer to fight. Douglas and Simon are both sent to France to fight and Elizabeth’s father is sent to a camp in the USA to help train the soldiers.

Elizabeth, who has been spoiled by her family, and especially her older sister, Pearl, suddenly finds herself in a whole new world where she needs to step up and start making a bigger contribution to the welfare of her family. Elizabeth learns to cook and do more chores around the farm as well as be a stalwart supporter of her best friend, Sarah, and Sarah’s grandfather, and her own family, when tragedy strikes.

In addition to all the change due to the advent of war, Elizabeth must also try to appreciate and understand Pearl’s support of the suffragette movement and nurse various family members through illnesses and other health issues.

This is a delightful story of a young girl’s transition from girlhood to young adulthood and her maturity as an individual, friend and family member.

Purchase Elizabeth’s War

Amazon US

D.L. Finn’s Amazon Author page

A Wonder of Words by Leon Stevens

What Amazon says

Remember when you first learned that a grouping of owls was a parliament?

In his second poetry collection, Leon Stevens explores familiar themes such as human nature, the environment, and personal observations, many with a touch of humor. Also included are the poems from the 30 Poems in 30 Days Challenge and a short story inspired by one of them.

My review

I have read Leon Stevens previous collection of poetry and enjoyed his humorous take on life and everyday irritations very much. When I saw he’d published a new collection, it was an obvious buy for me.

A Wonder of Words is divided into different grouping of poems about specific events, circumstances, or emotional states of the poet and the topics vary from Poems with Humour, to Creations from Quarantine, to The Environment. The last section of the book is devoted to thirty poems in thirty days for the National Poetry Month Challenge which the poet participated in. The challenge requires poets to write to a specified daily prompt and the author rose admirably to the task with a collection of entertaining and varied poems.

I enjoyed all the poems in the collection, but the four poems under Creations from Quarantine section resonated with me especially strongly. Perhaps because the lockdowns and pandemic period impacted all of us equally throughout the world and we all had similar anxieties, fluctuations of worry and aggravation, and a sense of the orderliness of life breaking down.

This poem, Silver Linings, puts a positive spin on lockdown life:
“Through disaster she stops her pining
There may just be a silver lining
Her lifeblood no longer quickly drains
From her old and deep and weary veins
No longer does it hurt to breathe
No smoggy air to make her wheeze
Regaining sight and through the tears
She hadn’t seen the stars for years
Skin once wrinkled begins to heal
And younger she begins to feel
For a while, she thinks, it will be easier
As Mother Nature sits and takes a breather.

This is a collection all lovers of poetry are sure to enjoy.

Purchase A Wonder of Words by Leon Stevens

Amazon US

Leon Stevens’ Amazon Author Page

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61 thoughts on “Robbie’s Inspiration: Book reviews – Elizabeth’s War by D.L. Finn and A Wonder of Words by Leon Stevens

  1. I cannot ever recall seeing an American book for children set during WW1 that was about that war. It must have seemed a far-away war to them at the time.
    Good luck to both authors, and I wish them success with their new books.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Thank you for the lovely review, Robbie. Hapoy dance here. This story started off as an exploration of my great grandma’s history in North Dakota and turned into a historical fiction for kids. This is my first book and will always hold a special place in my heart 🙂 I have an idea for a follow up that moves to YA and California.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Denise, this is exactly how I ended up writing my first book, While the Bombs Fell. It was based on my mom’s experiences growing up in a small town in the UK during WW2. So interesting that we both started so similarily.

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      1. I never thought of the fact our beginnings were so similar and familt inspired. Plus, we both write child and adult fiction along with poetry 😉 xo

        Liked by 1 person

  3. I don’t read a lot of poetry, but this collection sounds good. I like the sound of Elizabeth’s War, it sounds like a gentle way to introduce the effects of war to children who have never lived through it. Both great reviews, Robbie.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. Robbie, thanks for curating books we’d probably never know about without your fine reviews. It strikes me that Finn’s Elizabeth’s War would be a good addition to a social studies curriculum. Leon’s poetry collection sounds like a book I’d enjoy.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Two very different books and great recommendations, one for younger readers, and one for anybody who loves poetry, I’d say. I love your choice of poem. Unfortunately, the break for Mother Nature didn’t last long. Congratulations to both authors and good luck!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You’re like me, Robbie. I like to read several books close together, but different genres. Here, a fascinating children’s book (seems like historical fiction – I’m not 11 but I like the sound of this book!) and poetry that sounds like fun as well as thoughtful.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Wonderful reviews Robbie. I have a few of Denise’s books awaiting me, must check if I have this one. Thanks for introducing us to Leon’s book, I will check it out. Congrats to both! ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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