February 7, 2016 7 Comments
My eight book this year (2016).
I chose this because in a Goodreads group that I’m a member of, we’re reading WWII books this month. I had this book in my book case for a while already and wasn’t sure whether it would be for me. Well, I loved it!
A young boy, Noel, living with his grandmother in London, is moved to St Albans when the bombing starts (WWII). He ends up with a woman who only takes him in because she’ll be paid for it. She has no interest in the boy at all. But after a while, he turns out to be useful and a careful bond is forged.
What I liked about the story was that the not very nice woman, Vee, finds that she needs Noel as much as he needs her. Her mother and her son, who live with her too, turn out to be great disappointments, and she has to fend for herself, not always taking the legal way to make money. When things go very bad for her, Noel is there to help, and she realizes she could be a mother to him after all.
There are some interested contrasts in the story. For instance, Noel comes from an educated, rich background while Vee is poor and struggling to keep the roof over her head – eviction is eminent most of the time. Vee comes from a place where people all know each other while Noel comes from London, very much an anonymous place.
The story takes place in war-time England, and this takes a prominent part in the book: bombing, air shelters, food coupons, evacuees, back outs, it’s all there. There is no way the reader can forget in which time this story takes place. The war is an important part of the book, but the story itself is not brutal or bloody.
After I finished the book, I found myself wanting to stay with Vee and the boy a bit longer.