Also set in England during WW2 like The Runaway Sisters that I recently read and reviewed, The Lost Children is the tale of two siblings whose lives change when they are evacuated out of London because of the bombings.
The Lost Children
As they walked towards the railway station, their mother took an envelope from her handbag. ‘I want you to keep this somewhere safe.’
‘What’s in the letter?’
‘Listen carefully. You’re never to open it unless you or your sister are in real trouble. Promise me.’
England, 1943: Home is no longer safe for eight-year-old twins Molly and Jacob. Night after night wailing bombs and screeching planes skim the rooftops overhead. They cradle each other, shivering in terror, not knowing if they will live to see dawn. Their mother, Martha, has no choice but to evacuate them to the safety of the countryside.
At the train station, Martha bites back tears as she says goodbye to her precious children. Knowing she might never see them again, she gives Jacob a letter, pressing the envelope into his hands and telling him to only read it if they are in danger.
In the country, Molly and Jacob must adjust to life with strangers. Every night they dream of returning home to the arms of their beloved mother. But then the unimaginable happens. Martha is killed in an explosion, leaving the twins all alone in the world.
The war has robbed Molly and Jacob of everything – all they have left is one another. Motherless and destitute, they face the grim reality of life in an orphanage. The time has finally come for Jacob to open the letter. What secret does it hold, and could it change the course of their tragic fate? Because if they are together, they can survive anything – but what if they are torn apart?
From the bestselling author of The Orphan Sisters comes an utterly heartbreaking and unforgettable tale of two children who must lean on each other in a time of tragedy and learn the shocking truth of their past. Fans of Wives of War, Lisa Wingate and Diney Costeloe will be swept away by this sublime World War Two novel.
Historical fiction is fast becoming one of my favorite genres, especially when based around World War 2. The Lost Children is a heartbreaking story of loss and tragedy and above all love in the midst of the devastation of the War.
Young children such as Molly and Jacob are often the worst victims of war. The author has done a magnificent job of portraying the sense of loss and fear that displaced children in war torn England must have experienced. I l wonder how many children to their own devices and became victims of abuse and neglect.
This is an endearing story of the twins taking care of each other and giving each other strength in the most difficult circumstances. Jacob’s care of Molly, his attempts to be brave, while still being a child himself are very moving. Molly too beings to find her own strength and puts the needs of others before her own.
While the story centres on the characters of Molly and Jacob, there are other fine characters in it like Aunty Doris and Aunty Brigit and Mr Bob who reached out to care for them. The author also brought out the strength of a community taking care of the vulnerable, like all responsible communities should.
A very emotional read and yet very heart-warming too.
My first read from this author. I’d definitely recommend it and will be looking out for more books from her.
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Shirley Dickson was born and grew up in the seaside town of South Shields. She left school at fifteen and can’t remember a time when she didn’t write. She entered her first short story competition in ‘School Friend’ when she was eleven. After Shirley retired from auxiliary nursing, she was able to devote her time to writing.
After living in various locations, she settled under the big skies of Northumberland and has lived with her husband in the same house for over forty years. Shirley has three daughters and four grandchildren and likes nothing better than family gatherings.
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Thanks to Bookouture and NetGalley for the advanced reader’s copy. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.