By Katie Flynn
Arrow, Paperback, £6.99
With their father away at sea and their mother having died, Jimmy and his little sister are looked after by a neighbour who treats them miserably despite the fact that their father regularly sends money for their care. Letters and presents for the children are never given to them.
Katie Flynn, whose 41st novel can only enhance her popularity, demonstrates her mastery of events before and shortly after the outbreak of the Second World War in this tale which switches from the North-West to Wales in an accomplished manner.
The two children decide to run away to find their grandparents somewhere in Wales after being beaten and exploited by the neighbour and to escape the retribution from their fosterer’s vicious son, afraid that the youngsters will expose his behaviour.
They are joined in their adventure by a school teacher who is unfairly fired and decides to help them and perhaps find the mother who abandoned her as a baby.
It captures the period and exposes some of the hypocrisy of the time and the fears brought on by the advent of war.
And the outcome: Ah, that would be telling!