Alice in Love and War by Ann Turnbull (Published by Walker Books, September 7, 2009)
Alice Newcombe’s father died when she was eleven, leaving her an orphan. She was sent to live on her aunt and uncle’s farm, where she felt unwelcome from the start. Five years pass, until Alice is sixteen in the year 1644. Civil war divides England, but Alice is most worried about fighting off the unwelcome advances of her uncle, and fears what will happen if one day, she cannot fight him off. So when Royalist soldiers come to their village, and Alice falls in love with one young soldier named Robin, she seizes her chance to escape, and leaves with Robin to join the other women on the baggage train following the army.
Life is hard, but Alice becomes friends with many of the women on the baggage train. And she loves Robin, and is sure he loves her too. But when he leaves her alone for the winter, she begins to wonder if he was honest with her, and if he really cares for her as much as he made her believe he did. What will happen to her if he does not return? Can she make her own way in a country torn apart by a violent war?
Alice in Love and War is an excellent historical novel that brings to life the English Civil War, a time period I didn’t know much about as an American reader. Alice is a well-developed and likeable character and the book kept me turning the pages eagerly to find out what would happen to her next. There are some mature themes in this book, although not described in graphic detail, so I wouldn’t recommend this book for young readers, but it is an excellent book for teens - and adults too - who love historical fiction.