Monday, September 24, 2018
Book Review: 'A Relative Invasion, the trilogy' by Rosalind Minett
“In retrospect, though many were guilty, none was innocent.”AJP Taylor
British author Rosalind Minett began her career in the arts as a dancer - in RADA (for those outside the UK, The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art) - but switched directions when she studied psychology at Birmingham, Sussex and Exeter universities and became a Psychologist. This combination of experience offers her the ability to crawl inside the psyches of her characters while creating a proscenium arch setting in intricate details for her chosen subject - whether writing comedy, historically influenced novels or crime tales - before enjoying a career as a chartered psychologist. She is successfully able to wear the twin masks of comedy/tragedy and still maintain a rather phenomenal sense of finding the humor in the worst of situations and the compensatory dark side of the best of incidents. She is a very fine writer!
While the bookshelves (and Kindle tablets) are filled with stories of WW II and the manner in which England survived that period of history, very few have explored the subject of the interplay of off island youngsters and people as they interacted in England during that horror - especially the little known (outside of England) fact of the evacuation of children and women to small villages outside of London during the blitz for safe keeping during the assault. Rosalind accomplishes just that in pairing cousins and the stress and eventual growth such situations permitted.
There are three books INTRUSION, INFILTRATION, and IMPACT that comprise the Trilogy Rosalind calls A RELATIVE INVASION. The initial volume, INTRUSION, is so beautifully scribed that the author's synopsis best distills the plot that initiates the trilogy: `1937 South London. The adults fear Hitler and the threat of war. Billy faces one of his own at home when he is introduced to his frail and artistic cousin. He soon discovers that idolized Kenneth is darkly manipulative. Just as the Germans' envy of power and desire for new territory led to Hitler's rise, so those feelings ferment between the boys. Bullied and invaded, Billy imagines he owns the Cossack sabre he has secretly seen at the house of his father's friend. Later he is to learn its dreadful story. Soon he is an evacuee, separated from his family and shocked by the poverty in his foster billet. His foster family loves him but, returning to Wandsworth, Billy finds Kenneth in command. With the terror of bombing, Billy escapes again to the country, now to a different billet. How will he manage this new situation and will Kenneth, billeted near Billy's mother, take over Billy's place in the family?'
Each volume continues this gripping story with themes of psychological bullying, sibling rivalry, wartime parenting practices and the adult outcomes of early childhood experiences. Read them all for full impact.
Very strong writing this, books pleading to become a film. Rosalind Minett is becoming an upper echelon writer. Highly Recommended.
Editor's note: This review has been published with the permission of Grady Harp. Like what you read? Subscribe to the SFRB's free daily email notice so you can be up-to-date on our latest articles. Scroll up this page to the sign-up field on your right.