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Small Wars    by Sadie Jones order for
Small Wars
by Sadie Jones
Order:  USA  Can
Knopf, 2009 (2009)
* *   Reviewed by Joan Burton

Small Wars takes place in the mid fifties in the island of Cyprus, in the Mediterranean Sea. It is the story of Hal Treherne, a young soldier from England who has advanced through the ranks to become a major in the army. He is now moving his wife Clara and twin infant daughters to live there with the other families supporting their men.

Cyprus is an island in turmoil. The British are trying to defend the colony against the fighting Cypriots - ranging from school boys to guerillas, battling for union with Greece. The battles are bloody and gruesome and many lives have been lost on both sides. Despite the losses Hal feels pride in serving his country.

Clara settles in with the children, trying to make their new home as comfortable as possible. She is struggling with leaving her parents back in England, and finds the heat of Cyprus unbearable. She hires a local woman to help with the twins and tries to overcome the language barrier. She socializes with the other women and children to pass the long days that separate them from Hal.

As their time in Cyprus goes on, Clara notices a change in Hal. He is becoming withdrawn and distant to her and the girls. They can no longer talk freely as they did before. Clara realizes that the war is taking its toll on her husband. Hal does not want to share with Clara some of the atrocities he has witnessed and when he learns that three of his men have been involved in beatings and rapes, he is appalled at the attitude of army officials.

Personal tragedy strikes when Clara and the girls are shopping at a local market with friends. A terrorist opens fire and a life is taken, while others are injured. Hal struggles to keep his world from crumbling and his next actions go against all he was trained for. He begins to question his career in the army and bringing his family into a country at war.

Small Wars is a story of a young family in a foreign country, trying to survive against the odds.

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