Link to publisher
Published by: Bloomsbury, Jan 6th 2022
Last year, reviewing the Valley of Lost Secrets via Netgalley was one of my reading highlights. Now, ahead of its release in January, I have been lucky enough to read an exclusive extract of Lesley Parr's second middle grade novel, When the War Came Home, also thanks to Netgalley.
When Natty has to move with her mum to a new village, she meets two soldiers who are struggling in the aftermath of the First World War. Huw can't escape the terrible things he has seen and Johnny has no memory of who he is. As Natty tries to unravel a mystery, she learns how to fight for what she believes in and the importance of never forgetting.
My disappointment at only being able to read an extract of this much awaited novel quickly turned to excitement when I realised within the first few pages that something really special is waiting for readers in January. The pacy opening is exquisitely written and, without doubt, as authentically real as The Valley of Lost Secrets. This is an author who has the ability to fully immerse us in a past time and make it look effortless.
For me, this novel moves faster than Lesley Parr's debut novel. The characters jump off the page to the point where you can hear their voices and the dialogue moves the plot along in a way that reminded me of the Billy Elliott script. Not often as a reader have I encounted the gritty, reality of working class life portrayed in such an enthralling way and, coupled with the backdrop of the war, this is already a deeply poignant and emotional read. Not only can I not wait for Natty to unravel the mystery but I also loved the character of Natty's mum and am keen to see how her journey pans out.
So, if you're looking for something to look forward to in the first month of 2022, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this novel to children and adults alike. It's another wonderful history lesson in a book with all the power and emotion we need to really unlock the past.
When The War Came Home is available to pre-order and will be released on 6th Jan 2022. A huge thanks to Netgalley and Bloomsbury for allowing me a sneak peek.