Review Blog

Nov 03 2013

An accidental soldier by John Charalambous

cover image

UQP, 2013. ISBN 9780702250118.
(Age: 13+) In the spring of 1918, Harry Lambert is working as a military baker behind the lines in France. He is tired of watching his friends die around him. After learning he is to be sent to the front, he makes a decision that will change his life forever. Harry runs away to the countryside, finding refuge with a French woman named Colombe who speaks no English. The two form an unlikely bond, falling in love while waiting out the remainder of the war.
An Accidental Soldier (originally released in 2006 as Silent Parts) is first and foremost a tale of love and hope. Yes, it is mostly set during the First World War, but the presence of the war exists mostly for the mere setting of France, and as a catalyst in bringing Harry and Colombe together. This is not a war novel that focuses on the close friendships between men fighting on the front line, nor on the gruesome reality of the battlefield, but on the tender and unlikely love between two people from very different parts of the world. Harry Lambert is a quiet, shy man, weary of the blood and gore of the war, whereas Colombe is a strong, older French woman living on her own in the countryside and trying to cope with the death of her son. Their relationship is unlikely, but not unrealistic.
The writing is gentle-paced, yet captivating. The characters are well developed and very interesting, and Harry in particular is excellent. However, this novel truly succeeds because it doesn't focus on the bloodshed or cruelty of the war, but on a delicate, unexpected love.
An Accidental Soldier is an evocative, touching portrayal of unlikely love during the cruel days of war.
Rebecca Adams (Student)

BUY IT NOW ON booktopia
Archived Blog Entries
Latest News
International Children's Book Day 2nd April, 2017
CILIP Kate Greenaway Medals 2017 longlist
CILIP Carnegie Medal longlist 2017
Branford Boase Award 2017 longlist
Children's Book Award 2017 shortlist
Infographic: Teen reading habits
Victorian Premier's Literary Awards 2017
Newbery and Caldecott Medals 2017
ALA awards 2017
Costa Children's Book Award 2016
National Simultaneous Storytime 2017

ReadPlus Features
Print similar authors bookmark
Read similar authors
How to find lesson plans
Sample theme animation

Promote Reading
Staff holiday reading list 2016
South Australian Christian Schools Conference 2016 - Library Displays
Display calendars
Science fiction and fantasy lists SAETA conference 2015
Value of School Libraries
Library, Reading development and the Internet
Free Rights of the Reader Poster
Reviews: Author index
Books for boys
Bookmark and poster templates