Review Blog

Mar 23 2018

The Lily and the Rose by Jackie French

cover image Angus and Robertson, Sydney, 2018. ISBN: 9781460753590
(Age: Year 10+) A post world war one historical romance based around main character Sophie Higgs, an Australian beef canning heiress, a pre-war graduate of the mysterious Miss Lily's School of Manners in England. Miss Higgs first appeared in Miss Lily's Lovely Ladies which covered the period of the first world war in which Sophie becomes involved .
Themes of: lasting emotional and economic effects of war on ex soldiers, families, friendships and the (unacknowledged) role of women in World War I and after; women's rights in politics, business, society; class distinctions; the gap between poor and rich; nationalism; poor treatment of workers and fear of communism; hints of the future effects of the harsh treaty conditions on Germany; espionage. Possibly too many themes.
The life of Sophie and her attempts to use her wealth to alleviate and change conditions where she can, is threaded throughout the above as is her romantic life and attempt to seek happiness. Pervading all is the mysterious Miss Lily.
This second book of a trilogy by Jackie French can be read as a stand alone, but understanding would be enhanced by reading the first book Miss Lily's Lovely Ladies.
There is evidence of Jackie French's thorough research into the first world war period. The book is an enjoyable read.
It is most suitable for year 10 plus students.
Ann Griffin
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