I'm glad I waited a few days before reading the final chapters of the book, it helped me appreciate the changes in the characters during the time span of events.
I felt the main characters were depicted so well that I instantly knew them. The way they kept the stiff upper lip that had been cultivated since nursery days and bandied humour about to cover their deep insecurities, grief and inadequacies, yet were able to express compassion, was beautifully handled.
I hadn't previously thought about evacuation or otherwise of children who needed extra help at that time and felt thoroughly ashamed of myself. I admired the resilience of young Zachary and hoped he found a happy future.
I noticed a subtle change in the prose leading up to a calamity. Whether this was intentional or not I don't know but it did make me wonder if authors are affected by the planned demise of a character after they've put the meat on the plot outline.
Overall this was an enjoyable read with interesting characters and an unusual setting. A bit too wordy for me at times but the plot made me think, and I like that in a book.
This is an insightful question. I do think authors are moved by the deaths of their characters, especially if it was never planned that they would die. When I began Everyone Brave I didn’t know who would make it through to the last page. I don’t over-plan my books, I just try to build characters that are sufficiently complex and engaging to carry the novel themselves. You spend a lot of time thinking yourself into their points-of-view. Sometimes the extra perspective you gain in that way becomes a valued aspect of your own character, especially if you’re writing someone quite different from yourself: a different gender, for example, or a different age. And therefore, when that character dies, it’s not just a figure of speech to say that a little bit of you dies with them. So yes, I get emotional when a character has to go. I try not to let it show in my writing, but I’m not surprised if a sensitive reader can detect a subtle shift.