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Organized Chaos by Elizabeth Hawksley

July 21, 2012

I am in the throes of taking over the editorship of the Children’s/Young Adults book reviews for the Historical Novel Society Review, which comes out quarterly. I’ve spent the last week or so getting in touch with the Publicity Managers/Press Officers of, so far, twenty-odd publishers.

After a flurry of phone calls and emails (together with the inevitable DAEMON FAILURE notices when I discover that the person I’m emailing has moved on), suddenly, I’m in contact with lots of new people, all passionate about children’s books, who are happy to send catalogues and books to review. I am already amassing a growing pile of books which, in due course, I shall send out to my small but select band of adult reviewers and various eager young cousins (aged between seven and seventeen) who enjoy letting me know their opinions.

To take three of the books at random. The first book that arrived was All Fall Down by Sally Nicholls (Scholastic), set during the Black Death in 1349. The author is interested in how her thirteen-year-old heroine reacts to the unfolding cataclysm of unimaginable proportions. The result is horrifying, moving and gripping.

Damian Dibben’s The History Keepers: Circus Maximus (Doubleday) is a time-slip story which promises thrills and spills ‘in the dangerous heart of Imperial Rome’. This is obviously a book with ‘boy appeal’. It is the second in the series and the person who reviewed the first book is dying to get her hands on this one.

I am a Cornelia Funke fan, so I’m delighted to get her new book Ghost Knight (Orion) and can’t wait to read it. Her books have sold over 16 million copies world wide, and I can understand why. They are imaginative, exciting, quirky and you are yanked into the story which will not let you go until the very last page.

It really feels, after so many years in the doldrums, that historical novels are enjoying a renaissance. I’m thrilled to bits. However, I can see that I shall have to be super-efficient and  keep track of which book is where to ensure that all goes smoothly. It will be a steep learning curve.

I’ve warned my postman.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. July 21, 2012 11:02 pm

    Some of my favourite books as a kid were time slip or historical novels. I\’m not quite sure why. Was it because they allowed me to totally escape the here and now in a way that other fiction couldn\’t quite manage? Or was it because they allowed me to wander through landscapes that were vaguely familiar but uptil then never quite alive?
    Good luck with your new post and could I borrow the latest Cornelia Funke some time?!

    Judy Cumberbatch

  2. July 25, 2012 8:12 pm

    It sounds as if you are going to be kept very busy organising the reviewing of so many books. However I’m sure you will enjoy the challenge and the opportunity to see so many historical stories. The only historical novel that I can remember reading as a child was “The Children of the New Forest”. Oh. No. I have just remembered another book “Shadow on the King” by Frank Cox. It was set in France and England during the days of Charles 1. I found it very exciting and re-read it so many times.

    • July 28, 2012 5:14 pm

      Of course you may borrow the Cornelia Funke, Judy, providing you promise to give it back!

      I loved ‘Children of the New Forest’ as a child, Odette, but, when I re-read it recently, I was surprised by how much the dialogue clunked, something I never noticed at eight!

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