By Hilary McKay
Good novels instill emotions into you as you read, great novels leave you connected with this emotion long after putting it down. The Skylarks War is a book set during WWI and explores relevant themes of that time including war, sexism and education rights. Twelve-year-old Clarry and her older brother Peter turn to each other for guidance after their mother passed away two days after Clarry was born. Their father on the other hand, neglects the children showing no compassion or love whatsoever. Through their whole lives, both Clarry and Peter are neglected by their father who fails to foster emotional connection and structures. Ultimately, this leaves them to face school and society on their own. As a result, Clarry and Peter yearn for their summers spent in Cornwall with dearly loved cousin, Rupert. However, when WWI rears its tragic head at a time of uncertainty, it begins to pull the already segregated family apart even more. The effects of the war are felt as Clarry battles for an education after school in a time of global urgency. Her father especially fails to see her worth or look beyond the idea that women don't require an education; an opinion that was apparent in that time. Author, Hillary McKay skilfully portrays the horrific events of war which helps to connect the reader with those both waiting patiently for hear form loved ones and those amidst battle. This novel carefully knits together real life struggles and desires and the social confinement that is placed upon them in a time of battle.