Review: War Flower by Mary-Anne O’Connor

Reviewed by Elle

In 1965, 18 year old Poppy meets a beautiful boy named Ben on a Sydney train. Poppy is instantly besotted with him, but disappointed when Ben begins dating Poppy’s arch nemesis Barbara. Barbara and her squad have always made Barbara and her twin sister Rosemary, feel like wallflowers, teasing them mercilessly throughout their high-school years.

Ben’s life is all planned out for him: Become an officer, be sent to Vietnam, and if he makes it back alive, he’ll follow in his fathers footsteps and become a lawyer. It’s not what he wants, but he feels the weight of his parents’ expectations.

Poppy, Ben and Rosemary all find themselves on an end of year trip to Surfers Paradise. And there, Ben realizes what a fool he’s been. Dating shallow Barbara, when what he really wanted has been under his nose this whole time, in the form of the girl he talks to on the train.

But despite their connection, Ben is not free to start up a relationship. He leaves for Officer training the next week, and then the war in Vietnam. Poppy swears she’ll wait for him, and for the first time, Ben begins to look forward to his future.

But of course, things are never as simple and straight forward as a couple of teenagers in love think they’ll be. And so begins a pretty epic tale, that follows multiple storylines, through the 60’s and the years beyond, across oceans, and into a war.

I enjoyed the unique storyline, and Mary-Anne O’Connor’s writing style. She wove the different characters together beautifully, and each character felt like a friend very early on. I loved the 60’s settings and getting a glimpse into the horrific Vietnam War. But the story moved too slowly for me to be completely invested.

But while it wasn’t completely my cup of tea, I would still recommend this book if you think you’d enjoy a love story set against the backdrop of Australia in the 60’s and the Vietnam War.

Rating: C+

Click to purchase: Amazon

War Flower
by Mary-Anne O’Connor
Release Date: September 18, 2017
Publisher: HQ Fiction

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