As a child I read a lot but most of the time I was rereading; if I liked a book I wanted to hear the story again, it was comforting to know what was coming up and also to take something else from the story when the element of surprise had been removed.
This is not something I can enjoy doing now, I want new, I want more and I can never imagine a time when there isn’t another book waiting for me.
That being said, one of the books I reread a LOT when I was young was Michelle Magorian’s Goodnight, Mr Tom. I still have the copy I read and read and it is certainly a little dog eared in places. The theme of that being evacuation and I cannot believe I have not read more fiction around the subject, let’s be honest war time and children’s evacuation to safety is completely fraught with emotion and potential. When Crooked Heart by Lissa Evans was on my potential books to review list this month I jumped at the words ‘blitz-drama’, intrigued as to where this one might lead.
Having lived most of his life with his godmother, ten year old Noel is left out of sorts when he loses his ageing carer to dementia and is evacuated on the second wave with his classmates from London to St Albans, finding himself landed with a morally compromised Vee, who is forever trying to make a fast buck, her self-involved son and her mute letter writing mother.
Noel, brought up and educated by a sharp minded former suffragette seems to be the only thing that has the potential to bring order to Vee’s life as it regularly spirals away from her and she may be the best thing for a slightly socially inept, yet fiercely intelligent, young boy.
Watching them get to know one another through the scrapes in and out of London is a pleasure and Evans offers a wonderful selection of phrases to paint the picture of their lives that left me feeling attached to the characters and a little saddened that the book had to end.
An often fast paced tale, with heart and humour, I would certainly say this warrants the praise it is currently receiving.