The Secret of Kit Cavenaugh by Anne Holland


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A review copy was provided by Killeen PR in return for an honest review

The secret of Kit Cavenaugh is told through kits actual accounts, excerpts and little added flare/dramatisation from the author.

Kit is our very own Irish Mulan! She is deeply in love with her husband Richard and is devestated to learn that he has been tricked into enlisting in the army and is now half way across the world on a ship destined for a strange, war torn land. Young men were bribed in whatever way possible if it got them onto a ship and into a uniform. Many did it as a way to escape poverty. The army offered a regular wage and food on a daily basis. 

Kit is so determined to find Richard she decides to conceal her sex and enlist in the army in an attempt to find him. Her love for him is heart warming but the way she was so easily able to pawn her children off was a little disturbing. Throughout the story she seems to have very little maternal instinct!

Kit excels as a soldier and is thoroughly involved in life in the camps. She was a fearless fighter who impressed generals of the highest rank. In fact I think that Kit enjoyed life at war so much that she almost forgot about Richard. 12 years pass without much mention of him.
When they do finally meet again she finds that he hasn't been missing her as much as she missed him!

Perhaps the most surprising element of the book, for me was the lack of punishment upon the discovery of her sex. I thought the penalty would be extremely harsh but no. Everyone just seemed fine with it! Maybe I'm just influenced by too many Americanised films?

One thing that I felt ruined the book for me was the pictures in the middle. The captions gave away the entire story so for the remainder of the book I was just waiting for things to happen. I felt these pictures and illustrations would have been better placed at the end of the book.

Despite Kits cold nature the story was enjoyable. History Buff's will really enjoy the thorough descriptions of life at war and within the camps.


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