Vee is on a forced mental health hiatus until 16th June. See you then!

Review of Valentine Joe by Rebecca Stevens

by - July 23, 2014

Format: Paperback
Genres: History, Romance, Time Travel,
Pages: 160
Publisher: Chicken House
Release Date: 01/05/2014

Book Depository ¦ Amazon UK/US ¦ Goodreads
UK Readers: Check if this book is on RISI

Rose's granddad takes her on a trip to Ypres, Belgium to visit the graves of those who died in the Great War. It's the day before Valentine's Day, but Rose can sense the shattered old city beneath the chocolate-box new. And it seems that it can sense her too. When she goes up to her room that night, she hears the sound of marching feet and glimpses from her window a young soldier on his way to the front line...

I think we've all had ancestors that we've lost in the wars, and Valentine Joe really made me sit back of think of them. I have a great, great uncle who came back from the second war but later died, we didn't even know of him until I researched my family history. And I likely had family in the first too.As the poem says, 'We will remember them.'

There are many characters in Valentine Joe, but the most memorable are easily Rose, Joe and the little dog that follows them around everywhere. I really felt for Rose, who has recently lost her father. As for Joe, I loved him as soon as I met him, he's a cheeky guy and a bit of a flirt, but very determined and brave, something that I knew would break my heart later. It was even sadder to know that he was a real person, killed in action at the age of just 15.

The concept of time travel is used very well. It's a short book so I was grateful to the author for not making me wade through pages of explanations about how it worked, and just let it happen. The effect of Rose leaving the modern day behind and finding herself in a town in the grip of the First World War was wonderfully executed and very creepy too, I was very worried that she would be hurt or worse. The time travel is not explained but I like to think that our furry friend had something to do with it.

Valentine Joe was such a cute, heartbreaking story that I'm sure will stick with me for a very long time. The characters and the settings were so beautifully described I really did feel as if I was there. This is a remarkable debut and I'm looking forward to seeing what the author has to offer next! 

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  1. This sounds like a book I would definitely enjoy, thanks for bring it to my attention! Great review!
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings

  2. Anonymous4:56 pm BST

    I've been getting into war related novels more and more so I'll definitely be reading this.


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