Lighting Each Other Up
The Only Light In London by Lily Graham is a powerful historical novel that consumed me.
The action begins in 1939 in both London, and eight months earlier in Berlin. It was a terrifying time to be Jewish and living in Nazi Germany. We drop in on a family and see the difficulties they face as they try to flee the country. They become a family divided.
We see the bravery of a twelve year old girl. “They don’t have the right to make me feel I’m worth less than them just because I’m a Jew.” She shows incredible courage. Though her body is limited as to where she can go, her mind is free because she refuses to let the Nazis take her mind captive.
In London we witness the fear of the population sheltering from the bombs, in the underground. “They were like small boats battling the fear in waves.” The people lift each other up, raising the spirits of those who are afraid.
It is always good to have something to focus on. We see a newly formed drama group who need enthusiasm and not talent, to join it. This is a place where those on the outskirts of society find a place to belong.
The Prodigal & The Faithful One
How Can God Hear A Man Like You? by Glenn Walsh is a powerful story of redemption as we see a soul walking from darkness to light.
There is power in hearing people’s stories and the author’s story is incredibly powerful. He is honest as he shares his battles with demons and his addictions to drugs. Glenn Walsh’s life was washed up but God had big plans for him. “Even before I came to know Christ as my saviour, He had time and again sent His angels to protect me.” God knows us and cares for us even before we say ‘yes’ to Him.
As a child the author was brought up in the Catholic faith. His childhood was difficult and God seemed silent. “The God whom I cried out to each night just remained silent.” No evidence of God answering prayers meant that the author walked away from God – but God was not done with him. “When I was utterly lost, He [God] was there for me.” God showed up time and time again.
When the demons shouted that Glenn Walsh was no good, worthless and God would not want him. God told the author that he was loved. “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” When the demons cry out, the name of the Lord will silence them. “In the name of Jesus Christ, I command you to get out.” There is power in the name of Jesus.
A Medal For Leroy by Michael Morpurgo is a powerful, historical children’s novel that will educate you as you read. It is grounded in facts and based loosely on the life of Walter Tull. We hear about his actual life in the back of the book. He was a black soldier in World War I who never received the medal he deserved, for countless acts of bravery.
The story is a dual timeline – after World War II and during World War I in the form of a letter. We ‘hear’ about the lives of elderly aunties who were young women during World War I.
We see the racial prejudice that existed in the first part of the twentieth century. Some saw the heart that beats beneath, others could not get past the colour of one’s skin. It is heartbreaking to read.
There was also a stigma attached to unmarried mothers. This is distressing to witness.
Second Time Around
The Amazing Story Of Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo is a wonderful children’s historical novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. It is suitable for ages ten years and over.
The novel begins in present day and travels back to 1943 in the form of diary entries by a grandmother when she was a young girl.
The action is set at Slapton Sands in South Devon. A World War II historian will immediately recognize this as the location for training for D-Day. For me, I also recognized the location as I holidayed there as a teen so the area is familiar to me.
We hear about daily life on a farm and about the love Lily has for her cat, Tips. The forced evacuation of the area causes much disruption and heartache, even though it was necessary. Cats are rumored to have nine lives – they bounce back – or do they?