The Skylarks' War

Cover of the book, The Skylarks' War.

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4.31, based on 1,012 reviews.

Goodreads says:

Clarry and her older brother Peter live for their summers in Cornwall, staying with their grandparents and running free with their charismatic cousin, Rupert. But normal life resumes each September - boarding school for Peter and Rupert, and a boring life for Clarry at home with her absent father, as the shadow of a terrible war looms ever closer. When Rupert goes off to fight at the front, Clarry feels their skylark summers are finally slipping away from them.Can their family survive this fearful war?The Skylarks' War is a beautiful story following the loves and losses of a family growing up against the harsh backdrop of World War One, from the award-winning Hilary McKay.

Waterstones says:

Winner of the Costa Children's Book Award 2018

Waterstones Children's Book of the Month for January 2019

Already victorious as the Children's Book Award Winner for the 2018 Costa Book Awards, Hilary McKay puts her unmistakable stamp on an affecting and heart-filled tale of lives overshadowed by the First World War and saved by the enduring consolation of family and friendship.

Brought up in an austere and cold London house in the haphazard care of their largely absent father and a short-tempered housekeeper, Peter and Clarry long for each summer when they can escape to their grandparent’s house in Cornwall. Here they and their kind and charismatic cousin Rupert taste true freedom and a kindling of mutual kindness and understanding.

Yet beyond their Skylark summers, forces are pulling them apart, with Peter sent to boarding school and Clary left at home. When the Great War breaks out and Rupert enlists, it seems that their lives will be forever changed.

A seasoned storyteller - she won the Whitbread Award for her bestseller Saffy’s Angel - Hilary McKay knows how to craft an utterly engrossing tale and pull her readers into its embrace and, in The Skylarks’ War, her talents are given full rein. Vividly capturing the poignancy of golden summers, gradually stolen by history’s unforgiving march, McKay creates a story of lives shaped and sustained by memory and family. There is much poignancy to be found in the way she explores the alterations wrought upon her characters by the pain and anguish of war, but this is tempered by a deft understanding of what remains and sustains us when the world is at its darkest.

Rating breakdown

4.31 out of 5 stars (1,012 ratings)
5 50% (510 ratings)
4 35% (355 ratings)
3 11% (110 ratings)
2 3% (27 ratings)
1 1% (10 ratings)

About Hilary McKay

Hilary McKay was born in Boston, Lincolnshire and is the eldest of four girls. From a very early age she read voraciously and grew up in a household of readers. Hilary says of herself as a child "I anaesthetised myself against the big bad world with large doses of literature. The local library was as familiar to me as my own home."

After reading Botany and Zoology at St. Andrew's University Hilary then went on to work as a biochemist in an Analysis Department. Hilary enjoyed...
[Read more about Hilary McKay]

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