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Reviewed by Sarah Stuart for Readers' Favorite
Rebecca Bryn’s novel, The Dandelion Clock, is a vivid portrayal of WW1 shown through the eyes of a country lad and a backstreet girl. Bill joins yeomanry formed on a local duke’s estate and is allotted Lady Alice’s much-loved horse, Copper, to ride. Florrie, who gave up her dream to be a dancer to care for her siblings, loves Bill and looks to him for protection from her abusive widowed father. A shooting in distant Sarajevo triggers war and before Bill leaves he makes two promises – when he comes home he will marry Florrie and return Copper to Lady Alice. Sent first to Gallipoli and then to Egypt, will he survive to keep his word? How will Florrie cope as food becomes scarce and her father more violent? Can their love endure five years apart?
The Dandelion Clock means blowing seeds from a dandelion head and counting the puffs until the last is gone: “He loves me, he loves me not.” For Florrie, horrific news of casualties changes it to “He lives, he lives not.” Bill is drafted to the trenches of Gallipoli, and then to the roasting heat, scouring winds, and icy nights of Egypt; hungry, short of water, and in constant danger from enemy guns, it’s kill or be killed. Rebecca Bryn breathes new life into the land of Abraham and the road to Jerusalem and finally asks the question, what did the Allies gain at such cost in brave young men who never came home or those that returned to the austerity of a “land fit for heroes”? A love story or a well-researched tale of WW1? The Dandelion Clock is both: an emotional roller coaster that moved me to tears, to anger, and sometimes to laughter.