Meet Alice (#1) by Davina Bell

Published: 25th January 2012 Goodreads badge
  Penguin Books Australia
Pages: 105
Format: Book 
 Junior Fiction
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

It’s 1918…and Alice lives with her big family by the Swan River in Perth, while on the other side of the world, World War I rages. Alice’s deepest wish is to become a ballerina, and when she auditions for a famous dance teacher from London, it seems as if her dreams might come true. But then there’s a terrible accident, and Alice must ask herself whether there are more important things than dancing. Meet Alice and join her adventure in the first of four stories about a gifted girl in a time of war.

This was a quaint little story and the first in a series of four and part of a larger collection of stories called Our Australian Girl where various writers tell the story of young girls at various points in Australia’s history. It’s simple but sweet and it shows you what life was like during this time in Australia’s history. This story is set in a town just outside Perth in the middle of WW1 and depicts the day to day life and the impact of the war. Alice dreams of being a ballerina and has the skill to be great one day, but her responsibilities at home are important as well and the guilt she feels enjoying herself weigh on her mind.

I liked Alice; I liked her friendships and the relationship with her brother Teddy and how she cares for her family while her mother works and their father is at war. There are antagonists, naturally, and a small town mentality, and Bell has incorporated the historical references and circumstances really well making the story feel natural and age appropriate while not holding back facts.

Each story is self-contained but because it’s told through four books there is an ongoing storyline as well. Being the first book we have an introduction to Alice’s family, and an insight into 1918 life and the pressure young boys had to go and fight in the war, lest they be labelled cowards. Bell uses her characters really well in helping demonstrate the different sides of society during this time and despite the relatively simple story, it is a rather intriguing little read.

You can purchase Meet Alice via the following

Publisher | Book Depository

Booktopia | A&R Bookworld

QBD | Fishpond

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