Yvonne Child Of The Somme by Sara Rowell


Yvonne Child Of The Somme by Sara Rowell is a fascinating glimpse into a bygone era.

The reader becomes immersed into French life during the early part of the twentieth century. The author drops in on mother Marie’s life as a domestic servant in 1900 before following Yvonne’s life from 1901.

Life for women in France at the turn of the century was hard. We learn that a third of all births in Paris in 1900 was to single mothers and yet there was no pressure on the fathers to claim responsibility. Females were at the mercy of males. Domestic servants were at risk of abuse from other male servants or their masters.

The poor were seen as a problem for society that was ruled by the male elite. “The wealthy male elite… saw poor people not as individuals but as a … problem.” There was no poor relief and life was a lottery. Many women could not afford to keep their babies.

Continue reading

Child Of A Bygone Era by Peter Hunt


Child Of A Bygone Era by Peter Hunt is a fascinating account of the author’s early life.

Born in 1940, Peter Hunt spent his early years in Britain before moving to Hong Kong after the war and then returning to Britain for boarding school.

The reader is treated to glimpses of the author’s life in these very different environments. We hear how he travelled on the Queen Mary as well as freight ships – very different modes of transport.

What particularly caught my attention was the mention of a newsagent called Stan Hawkins who was a Poole Pirates supporter. I have watched the Pirates race when I was on holiday. As a speedway supporter for over forty years, Peter Hunt’s mention of speedway and what it is, was a real treat for me.

Continue reading

The Concentration Camp by Vera Mertens


The Concentration Camp by Vera Mertens is the powerful and horrifying true story of the author’s father’s wartime experiences.

Her father was just a teenager living in Belgium as war broke out. He had already witnessed the damaging effects of World War I on his father. As the Nazis marched in, the horrors from the past loomed large.

The author’s father was a brave young man. He stood up for what was right and consequently ended up in a concentration camp.

We hear of the horrors of man’s inhumanity to man. Deprivation, starvation and terrible cruelty – those who survived the camps would be forever haunted by their experiences. The reader is horrified. It is so hard to imagine why anyone would be so evil and cruel, never mind a whole nation of supposedly educated beings.

Continue reading

Lucky Jack by S. Bavey

A Fascinating Account Of A Life

Lucky Jack by S Bavey is a marvellous read. It is the biography of the author’s grandfather who lived a long and eventful life from 1894-2000.

The book is fascinating and absolutely amazing to read of all the events that happened over the course of a very long life – several monarchs, the invention of the car and television, talking pictures, two world wars, walking on the moon.

Lucky Jack is the story of a full life lived well. There were tragedies and there was also some luck involved. We ‘hear’ all the events through Jack’s voice as the book is written in the first person. Jack has a very personable style, making it feel as if we are hearing from a dear friend.

Continue reading