The Foreshadowing by Marcus Sedgwick
!!Warning-Mild Spoilers inside!!
The story is centered around a 17-18 year old girl belonging to a well off family. Her mother is a ‘beck and call’ servant for her husband,who owns a hospital. The girl has had a gift,well,more of a curse. She can see peoples’ deaths,and it torments her in the turmoils of WW2. The girl finds herself in hospitals,treating wounded soldiers and seeing some inevitable gruesome deaths.
The first part of the book is set in Brighton, where the girl pursues a dream of being a nurse, as a VAD in her fathers hospital for a time. Inevitably, her father stops her working there because of her ‘gift’ often referred to similar as Cassandra from the book the character is studying. She miraculously helps a soldier recover from shell shock, a mental state of shock caused by war,mainly by bombings. When her eldest brother goes to war and sadly dies. Shocked by the news,her other brother goes to war. She sees a vision of him being shot in the chest, and knows what she must do.
The second part of the book is set in France. The girl runs away with a fake ID, and befriends a rich girl called Millie,who helps her out along the way. The main nurse where she works has it in for her though,and suspects her. Whilst working at the camp,a messenger named ‘Hoodoo Jack’ arrives. She immediately confronts him, but he shuns her down thinking it a juvenile prank. His mind is changed when she sees a captain’s death at the same time as Jack,and convinces him she can see things too. It looks up,but the Sister in charge of the camp finds out she is a fake,and she is transferred to a train job. At her first stop,she jumps off the train and talks to a corporal to see if she can find anything out about her brother. She is captured and suspected of being a German spy,luckily for her she tries to escape,and Jack sees. The next day Jack tricks the guard and frees the main character. They set off in pursuit of her brother. They follow his battalions tracks for a few days,and finds out they are going to ‘Raven Wood’, which is linked to her visions. They arrive at Ravens wood and she,thinking she can save him, is the one that shoots her brother. All ends well and he gets to go home with a good chance of surviving. As for Alexandra (The main character), she continues nurse work in France.
The book,as the name suggests, is centered around foreshadowing,with main characters who can see the future,so you always have a rough idea of what’s going to happen next. When the secondary character, Hoodoo Jack, is introduced, you get some rough piecing together of what will happen next. The author has done this incredibly well,and you always want to read on to see what the next bit is going to be in relation to the characters’ visions. The tale is also enlightening to the severe dominance of the male gender in those times,with wives being treated like servants, and girls shunned for even thinking about war or politics. The author also shows the great change the war can force upon someone,as displayed by Captain Edgar,once eager and arrogant to get into battle, to humbled and loving for his family. We also see a change in the once peaceful Tom,to being a suicidal soldier wrecked with grief for his lost brother.
All in all, I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes WW1,the past,generally well written books and any fans of,well, books who are not afraid of slight gore.
I would give this book a 10/10 and it gripped me so much, I read it all in one go. I would recommend you pick up this book and the trilogy when you see it, as it is a good read.