Frank Parker's Reviews > The Dandelion Clock

The Dandelion Clock by Rebecca Bryn
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it was amazing
Read 2 times. Last read March 10, 2018 to March 21, 2018.

It's only a century since the first world war came to an end. It's easy to forget that the conduct of warfare was then still heavily dependent upon horses. Cavalry regiments still formed the backbone of the British army.

Bryn's grandfather served in such a regiment and it is that fact that inspired her to write this epic tale. But she does not limit herself to the rigours faced by serving men. She takes a close look at the lives of those left behind in England. The older generation of men whose labours kept 'the home fires burning' and the women of all ages who shouldered the burden of clothing and feeding everyone whilst worrying about the fate of their young male relatives in far flung corners of the world.

Another factor that sets this book apart from many others set in World War I is the way it concentrates on an often forgotten theatre of war. This is important because the events that Bryn relates reverberate a century later. After describing pre-war rural life, with shades of Downton Abbey, the story moves to the period of training that volunteer soldiers underwent. This enables Bryn to introduce us to a romantic triangle as her protagonist, Bill, and a young woman, Martha, with whose family he is billeted, develop a fondness for each other that leaves him agonising about his espousal to his sweetheart, Florrie, in his home town.

The action then moves to the ill fated expedition to the Dardanelles and, thence, to Egypt and the Holy Land. Through all the minor victories and set backs that characterised these campaigns we see not only the suffering of the men but that of the horses. Copper, a horse belonging to Lady Alice, the daughter of the 'big house', is an important character in this story. His suffering, and that of the other horses, will break your heart. Bryn has stated that she wept frequently whilst writing such scenes. It is that emotional engagement with the suffering of all her characters – back home in England the relationship between Florrie and her father goes from bad to worse to terrible – that makes Bryn's writing such a roller coaster ride for the reader.

I've read several of Bryn's books and am an unashamed fan. I had the privilege of access to an early draft of this one and found it to be the best yet. Because she is self-published this book will not get the sales it so richly deserves. That is a shame because Bryn is, without doubt, one of the best writers of historical fiction writing in English today. In The dandelion Clock you will not just read about the horrors of war, you will live them in all their stark reality.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
March 10, 2018 – Started Reading
March 21, 2018 – Finished Reading
July 26, 2018 – Shelved

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message 1: by Rebecca (new) - added it

Rebecca Bryn A wonderful review, Frank. I'm so grateful that you enjoyed my story and took the time to review it at such length and in such glowing terms. Copper, as you mention, is an important character. My grandfather loved his horse but sadly, I don't know if he managed to bring it home. It wasn't until the point in the story where I needed to try to bring Copper home that I realised the terrible fate of most of those brave warhorses.


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