Book Review: Ronan’s Echo by Joanne van Os

Ronan's Echo by Joanne van OsIn 1916 twin brothers Denny and Connor Ronan are eager to get to the war before it’s all over; Bridie O’Malley, their childhood friend and the woman they both love, watches them leave, understanding too late that war is about more than heroes and handsome boys in uniform.

Nearly a century on from the disastrous battle of Fromelles, forensic anthropologist Kat Kelso, Bridie’s great granddaughter, is in France identifying the recovered bodies of lost Australian soldiers. The discovery of her own relative amongst the dead men begins the unravelling of a hundred years of family history, lies and secrets.

Ronan’s Echo is everything I love about this sort of book and more. Much along the lines of Kate Morton’s novels, it tells two interconnecting stories. That of Kat Kelso in modern day Australia and that of her great-grandmother Bridie O’Malley. Focusing on World War 1 and Kat’s search for the truth of her family history – not just her Great-Grandparents, but also the truth of about her mother whom she has never had the best relationship with – leads her to discover secrets kept for nearly a century.

Kat, as a character was interesting but didn’t have much depth to her. I felt like besides her great-grandmother and even her mother, the book hinged on the plot instead of the character development. Despite that it was incredibly interesting and well written for a young adult novel.

Perhaps it was because of just how much I loved the story – I love anything to do with the World Wars and Australian History – but I found it quite an easy read and honestly wished it was a lot longer.

It is a book I’d love to own and would definitely reread at some point in the future.


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