Friendship & Adventure
Where The River Takes Us by Lesley Parr is a very engaging children’s novel set in the Welsh valleys in 1974.
1974 was a time of unrest in Britain with three day working weeks and regular power cuts. Times were hard for many but even harder for the leading character and his brother who had been orphaned after a car crash.
The story is told in the first person and we become intimately acquainted with the young boy. He is kind and caring, wise beyond his years. We see the need for identity, to be seen as an individual and not just the village orphan. Labels are constrictive, not giving the full picture.
There is a beautiful bond between the brothers. The older brother is trying to keep the pair of them together. At nineteen, he was forced to grow up quickly, resulting in abandonment by his mates. In order to survive, he has made some bad choices. In contrast, the lead character’s friends have drawn closer to him and are very protective.
The Valley Of Lost Secrets by Lesley Parr is a marvellous children’s novel for ages ten and over.
The novel is written in the first person from the point of view of twelve year old Jimmy, who along with his brother six year old Ronnie, is evacuated to a Welsh mining village. The reader witnesses how hard it is to settle when everything has been ripped away from you. It almost feels like a betrayal if you start to feel happy. Jimmy experiences many conflicting emotions as he receives unconditional kindness.
There is a beautiful caring bond between the brothers as Jimmy knows just what Ronnie needs to flourish.
The evacuees from London meet both kindness and hostility from the locals, both young and old. Those who should know better are quick to point the finger and criticise and accuse.
The Power Of Kindness
When The War Came Home by Lesley Parr is a charming historical YA novel set after World War I. It is a story that will delight and entertain you whatever your age.
The novel is written in the first person from the point of view of twelve year old Natty. The reader gets inside her head as her thoughts become our thoughts.
World War I blighted families. Many lost loved ones. Many were injured but not all scars could be seen. “The war took him away… And it gave him back, only not every part of him.” Many returned with what we would now diagnose as PTSD. Young men in their prime who were suffering from shell shock were not always understood by those around them. There are some very upsetting scenes to read as a character returns to the battlefield in his mind. “The war ended ages ago… But we bring it all home… What happened on those battlefields never really leaves us.”