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Books set in the past
Books set in the past



All Fall Down,
jo, 13.

This book is about:
The plague

It was gripping until the end

The plague is raging in England and Isabel and her family are caught in the midriff. the plague has already killed half of Europe. The clock is ticking.

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Lynsey Southern, 12
The story opens in the Yorkshire village of Ingleforn with the prophetic account of how that year it rained every day, the sheep died and the crops failed and how as the year progresses, the stories that the travellers to Ingleforn share with the news-hungry villagers change to news of a deadly new sickness sweeping through the cities of England and across Europe.

It is through the eyes of 13-year-old peasant girl Isabel that the unfolding horror of the Black Death reveals itself. At first an abstract and unlikely sickness affecting only sinners in distant cities, but as the sickness draws closer and eventually reaches her home village, Isabel realises that no one is safe.

All Fall Down is an unsparing and naked realising of how the Black Death wrought havoc on everyday people, but also how it became the mechanism for social change - not only societal change but also the beginning of change for women's rights.

Beautifully interwoven through the book is a story of growing up, of life continuing despite grief and loss, and of the choices that we make. It's about love and family. It's about courage and hope. Isabel is and engaging and relatable protagonist.

This book, whilst an incredible work of historic fiction in its own right, would work wonderfully as a companion novel whilst teaching the Black Death - the facts that we teach need to be humanised and All Fall Down does that perfectly.

But, please be warned, this book does not shy away from the bloody and merciless. You will be moved, you will cry and you will truly get an insight into the lives (and deaths) of medieval peasant families.

256 pages / Ages 12+ / Reviewed by Lynsey Southern, school librarian
Callum K, 13
I would recommend this book as it's a thrilling novel for most teenagers about tragedies as it has it shows many emotions on how they try and fight the black death.
Erena P, 14
Personally I did not particularly enjoy this book as I found it very sad and depressing, it is not the sort of book that I would typically enjoy. However it was a well written book with well developed characters that you become attached to throughout, meaning that when misfortune happens you feel lots of empathy towards the characters. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys apocalyptic style stories
Jacob, 11
Because it is fantastical and yet shocking about what had happened at the time of King Edward and how many were not immune to the illness.
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