What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?
Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.
Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.
This is a charming short book made up of vignettes from a childhood spent on a farm in England while the Second World War raged across mainland Europe and in the skies above. Each chapter is a simple, uncomplicated glimpse into life – sometimes idyllic, like summer days spent swimming in the river, and sometimes exposing the hardships of food rationing and air raids.
The war itself remains on the edges of the book, always lurking, but as from the viewpoint of a child, the true horrors never encroach. We get to meet a selection of local characters, each with their own idiosyncrasies, who pass through young Elsie’s life.
The writing style is simple and clear, which adds to the overall nostalgic feeling. The only complaint would be wanting to read more about the time, events and people that are introduced, but the short book and simple style make this an ideal book to introduce younger readers to sort of things that happened in Britain during the war.
A very well written short journey back to a child’s view of wartime Britain, with plenty of charm and nostalgia for childhood.
The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit
You can learn more about author Robbie Cheadle, and her books for children and adults, on her blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com
‘While The Bombs Fell’ is available from Amazon on Kindle and in paperback:
Amazon.com: While The Bombs Fell
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