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Gang Loyalty (Gang Books Book 4) Kindle Edition
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|Length: 298 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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|Age Level: 9 - 18|
|Grade Level: 6 - 12|
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Top customer reviews
It's of particular interest to me as my father was evacuated from London to the Cotswolds during the war and had a wonderful time, so I feel as if I'm finding out more about his daily life by reading this book. It would also be a super story to share with schoolchildren studying the Second World War, as my daughter did when she was 8. She'd have been too young to read this book on her own, but I'm sure her class would have loved to have extracts read aloud to them to gain a flavour of what it was like to have been a child living then.
While 90% of it is idyllic, depicting an age of innocent outdoor games played all day long between school hours and duties at home, this is no idealistic misremembering of troubled times. The author cleverly drops in now and again poignant reminders of wartime suffering - one child's father is missing in action in North Africa, a couple of the older "children" get called up so must leave their days of playing games behind, and the reason the hero is there in the first place is that the orphanage in which he was previously housed in London was bombed flat, killing many of its occupants. The children reassure each other now and again not to worry, as the war will soon be over - but the book is sent in 1941.
It's also touching that each chapter ends with Peter having a wide-ranging discussion with God, via his bedtime prayers, seeking comfort and assurance in frightening times (though often only trying to gain insight into the workings of girls and friendships). His only living relative appears to be his hostile aunt, with whom he now lodges. I understand such resentful hospitality often had to be endured by lonely evacuees who had no choice or control over their fate. Priority was given simply to survival.
I enjoyed this book so much that I'm going to give it five stars even though there were two things in there that didn't work for me. Firstly, I have a general dislike of regional accents being spelt out phonetically, as happens for a couple of characters in this book. I find that hampers me when I'm reading a book, and it's not necessary - we all know what regional accents sound like, and I think it's better just to mention them rather than spell them out. (I feel sorry for readers who have that accent themselves - it must make them feel rather patronised.) The other thing I hesitate to mention as I know it's a key characteristic of the book that has proven very popular - the illustrations. For me, these were far too modern-looking and were not at all evocative of the era that the book evokes so well. I'd rather no pictures at all than these brightly coloured cartoons - or some appropriate period illustrations, maybe black and white pen and ink drawings to reflect the austerity of the time. But maybe that's just me.
Overall, though, a charming, memorable book - and it's always great to discover a good book that's part of a series, so that you know there's more where that comes from. I'll be passing it on to my 80-year-old dad now, who I'm sure will enjoy reliving his boyhood through its pages!
(I was given a copy of this book by the author in return for an honest review.)