BOOK REVIEW: Whistling in The Dark

By Shirley Hughes Walker Books, Hardback, £9.99

An excellent feel for a city living under the blitz during the Second World War, and how it affects a family living on the outskirts of Liverpool.

Shirley Hughes has managed to capture the full span of emotions as a family and their friends plot their troubled lives.

Joan and her family face many privations – one of the most difficult being the incursion into their lives of a Catering Corps Captain who gets emotionally entangled with the mother. While his generosity makes him a favourite with many, Joan and her brother, Brian, can’t stand his arrogance towards refugees needing a home.

Ania, a Polish orphan whose family were caught up in the Nazi take-over of their country, finds it difficult to make friends until Joan takes over.

This might be a novel but many of the key wartime themes appear – inadequate food supplies, refugees, black-market dealing and the trauma of life under threat and of relatives who have been killed. But beyond that the friendship that such times create comes across well and carries many through such hard times.

A super thoughtful read, complete with super illustrations which are also done by the author.

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