A World between Us
Lydia Syson




Spain, 1936. Felix, a spirited young nurse, has travelled to Spain to help the cause of the Republicans in the Spanish Civil War. But she is also following Nat, a passionate young man who has joined the International Brigades fighting Franco. And George - familiar George from home - is not far behind, in pursuit of Felix ... As Spain fights for its freedom against tyranny, Felix battles a conflict of the heart. With the civil war raging around her, Felix must make choices that will change her life forever.

I really enjoyed A World Between Us and was completely drawn in and fascinated by the story from the first page unit the last. It is a real example of the way in which I think historical fiction should be written and is certainly a book I shall be recommending regularly to others. (overflowing library)

Packed full of passion both political and of all other kinds this is a harrowing, thrilling and romantic account of the Spanish Civil War and the lives of three young volunteers who sign up to fight in it. The courageous decisions the three have to make; their bravery and their love make a strong thread through the fast paced action. (Julia Eccleshare)
Amira, from Wren Academy Barnet

A World Between Us, a debut novel by Lydia Syson, is a compelling story about a nurse working in the Spanish Civil War during the 1930s.

I was pleasantly surprised when reading this book as I enjoyed it much more than I thought I would.  The descriptions are very vivid and give the reader an accurate and detailed insight to what life was like during this time period.

The book revolves around Felix Rose, a nurse in training who finds herself a volunteer in the war after a tangle of events. A World between Us also includes a love triangle, between Felix, aspiring journalist and family friend, George, and Nat, a volunteer soldier fighting in the war. As the book rotated between the three characters points of view, I found it interesting to view the Spanish Civil War through different aspects. Whilst reading the book I got to understand what it was like to be a nurse, soldier and reporter during the events of the war.

I especially liked the character, Felix, and found her a very brave and admirable character.  I found the ending very bittersweet but thought it was very well written.

I would definitely recommend this book and rate it five stars!

Amy, from The Mount School

On reading the first page of this book, I knew I was going to enjoy it. This book is gripping and exciting. One of the reasons I enjoyed it was because it contains amazing imagery like, “The officer wore the expression of a father about to pick up his new born son for the first time.” 

The book is about a man called Nat and a woman called Felix. They are separated because of the Spanish Civil war. They are both putting their lives on the line, and have left people they love at home.  They both secretly think about each other, every moment of every day. 

During this book great tension unfolds as we get to know the characters in greater depth. Although I didn’t think this book could get any better, I was proven wrong, as the culture difference developed and increased my interest. 

I found this book an easy read and would recommend anyone who likes history in a book as well as a good story line. I also think you would have to be 11+ to read this book as you have to have some background knowledge. If you want to see if they get together again after everything that happens,  then read this book.


Avani, from Wren Academy Barnet

A World Between Us doesn’t have a very engaging beginning. Lydia Syson has used an interesting writing technique - being piling up the tension till the end. This has been brought out successfully to make the reader feel what the characters are going through.

Although the end of the book gets the reader engrossed, the beginning doesn`t follow. To fulfil this, the writer should add some kind of twist making sure the reader will want to read more.

The target audience for this book is young adults. Overall recommendation for this book would be a rating of three stars out of five stars

Bea, from Wren Academy Barnet

I read the blurb of this book and was instantly drawn in. I had never before read a book about the Spanish Civil War - Young Adult books about war tend to cover WWI and WWII, rather than some, possibly more interesting, foreign wars – and let me tell you this is a great place to begin.

The book follows a daring young woman on a quest to Spain from England to work as a nurse during on the Republican side during the horrifying Spanish Civil war. On one side, you get the show incredible bravery by her in treating these horribly injured men that are all around her, but on the other side you are seeing the love triangle between these three people. There’s Felix (Felicity), the main character, trying to choose between the brigadier, Nat and the journalist, George. 

I enjoyed this book because it is very gripping and has many different elements of the plot. I also liked that it chose to follow a war that is relatively un-talked-about in Young Adult literature.

Ebony, from Wren Academy Barnet

I think A World Between Us is a fantastic book. It highlights the key moments of the Spanish Civil War. The main story line is about a girl who meets this boy at a big gathering in England. They instantly fall in love but all that has to end suddenly when Nat (the boy) leaves to go fight in the war.  Felix (the girl) follows after him but as a nurse because that was her job in England.

Felix’s heart longs for Nat but she soon finds out that someone’s heart is longing for her and that they would come all the way to Spain for the person they love too. She finds it hard to stay in the right state of mind as she’s battling the horror of the war and the love she has for Nat. I love this story so much because it’s full of romance and really makes sure that the reader is feeling what that particular character is feeling. It’s very entertaining and will keep you thinking throughout the whole time you are reading the book.

I recommend this book for teenagers because the subject of war may be found upsetting for younger readers and because it is a romance book. Also the book is in three perspectives which a young reader may find hard to grasp. If you love a bit of romance that will tug on the heart strings of your heart then this is the book for you. “Hold onto me” he shouted. Will Felix hold on or let go?

Esmeralda, from St James Catholic High School

This a mind-blowing book full of excitement and adventure: Shows the truth about love and the power of it. Emotional! shows what happens during war and how love can change things.

One of the best stories ever. Every word drew me in and left me on the edge of my seat. I wanted to continue to read more even after the book had finished it really made my day.

Julia, from The Henrietta Barnett School London

A World Between Us is a book about a romance between two quite opposite characters (Nat and Felix) on the background of the Spanish Civil War. Nat goes off to fight as an International volunteer for what he believes to be the right cause and Felix follows him to Spain as a nurse. The story not only shows the way they are repeatedly torn apart and yet how luck always seems to be on their side but also shows how much the civil war shaped and affected their story.

The book started off at a very fast pace - the two main characters are thrown together in what seems a normal situation for Nat and something out of the ordinary for Felix. We follow both throughout the book and we really have a sense of them changing. A World Between Us shows the progression of their relationship and in the beginning they really are a world apart  - Felix a nurse in training who has little involvement in politics as opposed to Nat an active communist. By the end...

The way that they were introduced to each other and how their relationship evolved as it captured the passionate, eccentric time period was highly effective.

The author presents the two extremes (Fascism and Communism) colliding very vividly and I really enjoyed the fact that I could also see the story from the perspective of an outsider, George, a journalist, witnessing the violence but then becoming entangled in the whirlwind of fighting.  The connection between the three main characters is always very strongly felt and propels the story, and the added perspectives of minor characters gives the book greater depth and solidity. 

The vivid descriptions combined with facts and figures helped me understand the political situation at the time and what seems to be a very complicated battle that tore Spain in half.  Maps of the Nationalist advance after each chapter made the story a lot more dramatic and interesting to read. 

I thought that the ending could have been a little more detailed and felt it was a little rushed but altogether an excellent read, never lacking in pace, informative about the Spanish civil war and a heart rendering tale. 

UNPUTDOWNABILITY: 9/10

Lena, from Jewish Community Secondary School

Felix, a girl aged17 runs away from her comfortable home in England to become a nurse in the Spanish Civil War. While she is there, she becomes involved in a love triangle between two English boys, one a reporter and one a soldier.

As a book, I quite enjoyed reading A World Between Us. It was educational and I learned a lot about the civil war. That being said the book required some additional background knowledge, which I didn’t have. So I sometimes found it difficult to get a grasp on what was going on. 

At the beginning of this book I was confused about who the characters were. Syson didn’t give each character a good enough entrance as I found myself going back for names. She introduced us to four characters too quickly, which I found very confusing.

To make matters more confusing, she adds in small subchapters the thoughts and inner conflict of the main character, Felix. This adds nothing to the supposed suspense and drama. I found this pointless and boring. 

There is also the problem of the love triangle plot. I have seen this many times in other young teen books.  I found it repetitive and boring. The way the love story was written I didn’t find believable. An example of this is how Felix forgave Nat so quickly towards the end. I just don’t think that would happen in real life.

On the other hand, the writer did capture the hardships of war vividly for example I liked the way no characters stayed in one place; they had to keep moving. 

In short I felt that she was better at describing the realities of war rather than the relationships.

This is Syson’s first novel. I would not rush to read any more fiction written by her. Unless someone is interested in learning about the Spanish Civil War, I would not recommend this book to anyone my age.

Lily, from East Barnet School

A World Between Us is the story of two lovers who are separated in the Spanish Civil War. Nat is a communist and is fighting on the front line against the fascists. Felicity (Felix) becomes a nurse after running away from her brother Neville and his friend George who wants to marry her. Felix and Nat are faced with difficult decisions as the war progresses and their love becomes fragile as they realise what one has to do to survive.

I thought A World Between Us was very good and was really interesting. I do not usually read romance stories but I found A World Between Us enjoyable. It is cleverly written and changes after a major event from third person to first person which I thought was brilliant and made the book better. A World Between Us is Lydia Syson’s first novel and I think it is a really good first novel.

I would recommend A World Between Us to all teenagers and some adults, it is a very interesting and enjoyable book, which lots of people should read. Lydia Syson is a very good author and I hope she will write other books so that I can read them.

Maddy, from Wren Academy Barnet

A World Between Us is an exciting account of the Spanish Civil War told by Felix, a volunteer nurse who has travelled to Spain secretly, Nat – A volunteer soldier in the Spanish War and George, Felix’s admirer who tries to search for her throughout the whole of Spain. Thus follows an epic and beautiful romance between Felix and Nat in the war-torn country of Spain.

The descriptions are rich and sharp and really let you imagine what life would be like at that time. There was a huge twist at the end which actually made me gasp whilst I was reading! Syson uses extreme detail and I loved the way three different stories were told at once and how they all linked together.

The aspect of the secret romance and failed lover sounded like a cliché but was it was told uniquely and intriguingly. I enjoyed the fact that there were lots of small tales that were told throughout the main story.

As a conclusion I believe that A World Between Us has everything a great book needs: mystery, romance, history, drama and a possible murder……

Melis, from Wren Academy Barnet

A World Between Us is quite an enjoyable read, taking place in Spain during the Civil War. I don’t generally don’t like war stories, but this book is an amazing exception.

Is it a story about a young girl named Felicity “Felix” Rose, who signs up for the war as a nurse at the last minute. Personally, I thought her character was unbelievably strong in tough times and may be viewed something like a role model. I think that was a great choice for a war novel you need someone brave and who can fend for themselves as all wars are brutal conflicts, and, I feel, ultimately no one wins. That’s why it’s imperative to have a strong character in a book like this. 

As the book progresses I couldn’t help but hope for something amazingly romantic to happen between Felix and Nat (a British soldier who Felix falls in love with). The amount of romance in the book is wonderful and provides a good counter balance to the amount of historical and dramatic content.

In conclusion, I really liked reading this novel and would recommend it to almost any kind of readers that are aged nine upwards.

Millie May, from Copthall School, Barnet

A World Between Us is probably one of the best books I have ever read.  I was shocked to find out it was the author’s first novel, due to the quality of it.  I was hooked from the first page to the last, as there was no dull chapter.  It was interesting to read, especially due to my lack of knowledge regarding the Spanish Civil War and I found it helpful that on the last few pages, brief information as well as websites about the war were provided.

The story line was neither overly complicated nor basic and it was easy to like all of the  three main characters; something that I, as a reader, rarely manage.  I feel as if most novels involving war, aimed at people my age, are either sugar–coated, unoriginal, depressing or sexist.  This novel is one of the few that doesn’t fit into any of these categories.  I remember when I decided to read this book, seeing all the others on a table after the librarian had read all the blurbs and knowing that this was the book that I would enjoy the most.

Characters, to me, are the most important factors of a story.  Without reliable characters, a novel would become painful to read and as I mentioned before, the three main characters were easy to relate to.  Felix is a nurse in London who, during a trip to France with her brother and their friend George, runs away to work in a hospital in Spain.  Her actions are inspired by her meeting Nat, a soldier who has volunteered to fight against the fascists in Spain.  From the moment they meet, Nat and Felix seem to have a connection and all I can say is it develops throughout the book, as they are shaped by their experiences.  Then you have George to add to the mix.  Since before the book began, he has loved Felix, or at least believes he loves her and their relationship changes – that’s the most I can say without giving away the entire plot.

I liked the fact that neither the beginning, middle or end lets the rest of the book down and that in each part the characters are growing as people.  The author follows each character without changing to first person but you believe you are reading it from first person because you know the characters so well.  Felix is the sort of main character who would usually annoy me what with Nat and George having feelings for her, but the fact that she doesn’t let things go to her head, without being totally oblivious, makes her immensely likeable.

The beginning is exciting and is a sort of introduction setting the scene, introducing the characters, showing how they interact with each other, whilst , going straight into the action all at the same time.  The middle is full of action, whether it is on the battlefield (Nat), in the hospital (Felix), or on the streets of Spain (George).  But the end is in the future and is one of the few endings that I found satisfying.

My only criticism regarding this book is that it is too short.  I thought that this book had enough potential sub-plots to have been a lot longer. This being both criticism and compliment.  To end on a lighter note, I wish there were more books like this and I Iook forward to (or at least hope fo) further novels from this author.

Natasha, from Wren Academy Barnet

In a story of young loves lost in the Spanish Civil War, Felicity and Nat meet at Mosley’s 1936 Black Shirt march in the London East End. At 20, Felicity, called Felix, is a trainee nurse. From the first sentences of this remarkably good first novel we are in the midst of action as Felix rescues injured Nat from a police horse charge.

The Negative side to the book is: The book has war too which I don’t appreciate much and has a lot of History too, little romance and not much focus.

The positive impacts to the book would be: it has Lots of comedy which I found very funny, nice romance, a smart overview of the book and is historic

In the end, overall I found this book very good.

Nawal, from Copthall School, Barnet

A World Between Us is a very famous book, it’s written by the wonderful author Lydia Syson. Its understanding and interest is to a high standard about a Spanish Civil War and a girl called Felix. Felix is on the verge of discovering love. But discovery means choice, the hardest decision is that she has to choose between logic and attraction what will she decide? A World Between Us is a passionate and exciting adventure story that explores the meaning of love and the power of choice.

A World Between Us is a wonderful book, one of the best WeRead books ever! It touched my heart; Felix is a real role model on just how she sacrifices things to fight in the Spanish Civil War. It warmed my heart and gave me a change about life and how it is hard in certain places, let alone here - it was AMAZING! Truly, honest. However, honestly I’m quite a slow reader, so I didn’t really think it was a good book to read for me. On one page there were so many words I felt like the author squashed the words together, but on that page there were so many descriptive words that I quite enjoyed actually. I think it should have been spread out to different pages; there were some words that were so small, but that might be the author’s style of writing. A World Between Us is an interesting book that I would recommend to more advanced readers, but I would not like to give a negative opinion. However, because it was informative I would always remember it as a good read. Thank, Lydia Syson for writing an amazing book! 

Nicole, from Wren Academy Barnet

It’s nice to read a book of non-fiction from time to time. It’s good to remind ourselves of what happened in the past, the sacrifices that people did for the world that has come today. 

Felix has demonstrated her world to us and we have seen the adventures that have become because of her showings.

However, the beginning, the most important part of the book, was good with introducing people but when in the middle the characters appeared again, I could not remember who they were… so maybe put a little sentence to make the reader remember. 

I did like the characters and when George was all nice and asked Felix to marry her, I thought they would suit...

The situation with Dolores was really effective. I found it really nice that part when Dolores comes out with the confession. Very much like a mystery solving. It’s very clever to add a crime/mystery solving scene in a story like this. 

I like the drawing on the front and back (even though I don’t judge by the cover of books) I found it really effective the drawing to understand the book… well done!

It was quite plain, though, at first. It didn’t intrigue the reader as much as the end. Otherwise from that the story line was good!

Sophie, from Wren Academy Barnet

A World Between Us is a fascinating read set in Spain in 1936. It follows Felix an enthusiastic young nurse through her journey to help Republicans in the Spanish Civil War.  

My favourite thing is the way the plot twists and turns in ways you would otherwise not have expected. This leaves the reader unable to put the book down and sucked into both the love story and the pioneering medical side of the tale.   

The other two protagonists (Nat and George) seem to tear Felix in half, should she go for nice and stable George or the more daring Nat. the character of Nat is simply brilliant. He always seems to be on the edge of danger - you are never quite sure what is going to happen to him. George, on the other hand, seems slightly out of place in the war-torn landscape, despite the fact he is a journalist.

All in all I thoroughly recommend this enthralling novel to just about anyone.

Tadeshola, from Wren Academy Barnet

A World Between Us is a book based just before World War Two in1936. Its main character is a young lady, called Felicity or Felix for short. Her life was peaceful and quiet, working as a trainee nurse at seventeen, and living with her mother and brother, Neville. However all this changes when she meets a young man in a bar called Nat and they instantly fall in love, he talks about how he is traveling to Spain as a international Brigade Fighter to beat the Fascists and will leave in the morning.

Meanwhile, Felix, Neville and his best friend George travel to France. While in France, Felix’s thoughts are on Nat and she decides to run away to Spain. Unfortunately, Neville and George do not know where she is and decide that George will travel to retrieve her. 

A very exciting read packed full of romance, history and how decisions can change your life. I thoroughly enjoyed this book because I generally love romance books and it told me a bit more about the Spanish Civil War. I would recommend this book to teenagers or children looking for a harder read.

I rate this book a 4 stars because I think that she should have had more English translation for Spanish words because I do not speak Spanish and I think it will be nice to know what they mean.  

Theodora, from Wren Academy Barnet

This book is written by Lydia Syson and is a tale that will touch hearts forever.

When young Felix finds love it is then taken away from her in the most horrible way. She thinks she will never see Nat again but is she wrong?

This book has been written with a lot of emotive language which pinpoints parts of the story and attracts the reader. I found the book a bit boring at times as it was mainly talking about war and I’m not a big fan of war stories, and I had to research more about the Spanish Civil War as I wasn’t very familiar with the topic. At parts, the book was very interesting and although I thought I wouldn’t like this book, I enjoyed it and learnt to not judge a book by its cover.

I recommend this book to all teenagers! Star Rating: ***