#20BacklistIn2020 · 2020 Reviews · dual time frame · historical fiction · young adult

#20BACKLISTIN2020 Backlist Book Challenge: Follow After Me by Allison Marlow Paterson

2020 backlist challenge graphic

In a desperate bid to reduce the books that are collecting dust on my TBR shelves, I have decided to collaborate with another avid reader and fellow book reviewer, Nicole from Certified Book Addicts. The #20BACKLISTIN2020 challenge is a self paced challenge hosted by Jaylamm.ReadsReading and Sunshine, and Cassidys.Bookshelf. The overall goal of this challenge is to read 20 titles from the backlist books that are currently sitting on your TBR pile. For this challenge I will be reading non review books and taking my selections directly from my chock-a-block TBR bookcases (there are two shelved back to back). I will be publishing my reviews of these books on my blog and social media sites on the first and third Tuesday of the month.


Book #11 in the #20BACKLISTIN2020 challenge

Estimated TBR Shelf Life: 1 year


Two young women, a century apart, are mysteriously connected by a tiny key. Will they follow after me smalldiscover who they are and where their hearts belong?

2018 – Tired of being the perfect daughter, student and sister, Lizzie abandons old friends and safe-choices for a risky and life-changing relationship with the dangerous and charismatic Brandon. Watching his classmate fall into a trap, Nick tries to intervene. But is it too late? Will Lizzie listen?

1916 – Evie’s dreams are torn apart by war. As her childhood sweetheart Tom leaves to serve his country, she gives him a small key, the key to her heart. He promises to return the tiny talisman to Evie. Will Tom keep his word? Can Evie muster the courage to defy family expectations and pursue her dreams?

In this powerful story of courage, passion and heartbreak, Lizzie and Evie discover that finding a lost part of yourself may just come from the spirit and the actions of those who came before.

An intriguing tale of serendipity, hidden stories and invisible bonds stretched across time.

Follow After Me is an empowering young adult novel about finding a lost part of yourself in the spirit of the people who came before you. It is a beautiful story about serendipity, hidden stories and invisible bonds that time will never erase.

Review:

Follow After Me is a 2019 Big Sky Publishing novel from Australian author Allison Marlow Paterson. Follow After Me is a multiple timeline narrative that crosses the Great War, along with a contemporary storyline based in 2017. Allison Marlow Paterson’s novel is a mysterious and heartbreaking tale, suitable for a young adult audience.

Follow After Me is a story told with heart, linking two young women, who live over a hundred years apart. In the present day, Lizzie is a teenage girl navigating friendship problems, boyfriend issues and family pressures. Lizzie’s life changes when she attempts to trace her family’s tragic past history.  It provides Lizzie with a welcome distraction from her current preoccupations, but what will Lizzie uncover? Tracing back to over 100 years earlier, Evie tells her heart rendering story. This is the compelling tale of a young woman in love, with her hopes of a marriage to her childhood sweetheart shattered by the impact of the war. In a symbol of love and unity, Evie gives her heart to Tom in the form of a small key keepsake. Tom makes a pact with Evie to return home from the war with this memento and Evie has big dreams about their future together after the war is over. Follow After Me is a striking tale of honour, promise, hope, dreams, love, family and connection.

This Anzac day I sat down to read Follow After Me, a young adult fiction novel, inspired by real life event and figures.  This book is intended for an audience aged around 14 years and up. What was most interesting about Follow After Me was the historical background to this tale, which is informed by the author’s own family heritage. After reading Follow After Me, you may be inspired to source a copy of the author’s previous work, which is a non-fiction account of one family’s heartbreaking Great War story.

The Great War timeline, narrated from the viewpoint of young Evie, a country girl who is in love with Tom, is historically textured. Allison Marlow Paterson provides an insight into how life at home was for those loved ones left behind. The sheer despair, longing and fear is felt strongly. Alongside Evie’s point of view are letters that flow between the sweethearts and family members. It provides a strong human force to this tragic time in history. I liked how the epistolary elements were carefully intertwined in the novel, helping the reader to form a clear picture of life on the battlefield and the emotions experienced on the home front.

The Great War narrative thread is offset by Lizzie’s story in the present day. A teenager who lives on her family’s farm, Lizzie story highlights the common struggles faced by teenagers are current day times. From friendship problems, self-image, relationships, sexuality and family tensions. These are presented in an authentic and realistic fashion by the author, but I did struggle to connect as an adult reader. However, I did feel that Lizzy’s point of view is a pertinent part of the overall proceedings of Follow After Me. Lizzie’s role in the novel helps to unlock an essential chest of secrets linking to the past. I appreciated the device of the small key, which works to interchange to past with the present, with some startling revelations.

All in all Follow After Me provides a glimpse into a turbulent time in our nation’s fabric. Follow After Me is a comprehensive young adult title the puts the Great War on the stage once again for younger generations to glean more about this important world event.

*** 3.5 stars

Follow After Me by Allison Marlow Paterson was published on 12th March 2019 by Big Sky Publishing. Details on how to purchase the book can be found here

To learn more about the author of Follow After Me, Allison Marlow Paterson, visit here.

Follow After Me is book #62 of the 2020 Australian Women Writers Challenge

3 thoughts on “#20BACKLISTIN2020 Backlist Book Challenge: Follow After Me by Allison Marlow Paterson

  1. This book has not long been on your shelf, Amanda, did you want it off your bookshelf because it’s a young adult fiction? I know how you feel about them LOL. Fantastic review though! I won’t write anything else about the book as I did that on your review on Goodreads.

    My backlist challenge book will be up later today or sometime tomorrow as I’m having trouble writing a review for it. Hate when books do that to me. While I’m thinking of how to word my review I will organise my new bookshelf, yes we found one and steven gets out of building one for me, lol, the bookshelf is identical to the one I bought about 20 years ago and we snapped it up, mind you it had a sold sign on it but when we asked the Salvo worker what the go was as the due date for the person to pick it up was long gone so she rang the person and he said he won’t be picking it up. Was excited beyond belief and we bought it for a bargain!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Sue, a good guess, but I have to be honest and confess this book was read back in the school holidays (Anzac day as it’s Great War themed) and I had it earmarked for the war category on book bingo. However, I realised I had so more time up my sleeve for book bingo (next post is 13th June) and no book review for the backlist challenge. I was actually tempted to give this round a miss completely as I am ahead and definitely on track to complete this one by the end of the year. Anyway, that’s the long story of why I chose this one year book resident! I’ll have to check out your Goodreads response too, thanks for taking the time to leave comments 🙂

      I am keen to see your next backlist choice! I’ll keep an eye out. Yes I can sympathise with difficult reviews and the longer the time is between finishing the book and writing the review the harder it gets! Good luck, I hope you had success.
      Yippy, that is super dooper great news about the bookshelf. It was fate! Look forward to a pic when you have it up and ready!

      Like

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