Letters from the Lighthouse
From the queen of historical fiction, Letters From the Lighthouse by Emma Carroll is a stunningly evocative wartime drama, and sure to keep you breathlessly reading to its very last page
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We weren’t supposed to be going to the pictures that night. We weren’t even meant to be outside, not in a blackout, and definitely not when German bombs had been falling on London all month like pennies from a jar.
February, 1941. After months of bombing raids in London, twelve-year-old Olive Bradshaw and her little brother Cliff are evacuated to the Devon coast. The only person with two spare beds is Mr Ephraim, the local lighthouse keeper. But he’s not used to company and he certainly doesn’t want any evacuees.
Desperate to be helpful, Olive becomes his post-girl, carrying secret messages (as she likes to think of the letters) to the villagers. But Olive has a secret of her own. Her older sister Sukie went missing in an air raid, and she’s desperate to discover what happened to her. And then she finds a strange coded note which seems to link Sukie to Devon, and to something dark and impossibly dangerous.
An adventure of old-fashioned charm
If your middle grade kids (ages 8-12) haven’t discovered Emma Carroll yet, then they’re missing out.
A triumph: a finely crafted and deeply atmospheric mystery, with themes of prejudice, refugees and belonging which resonate poignantly with current world events.
This is modern classic which should be read and loved by generations to come.
Emma Carroll is brilliant. Everything she writes is brilliant. This is a fact. Yet, somehow, she has managed to top her previous works with the stunning Letters From The Lighthouse. There are some true heart-in-your-mouth moments and heavily moving parts that make it so difficult to put it down. You simply need this book if you’re a Year 5 or 6 teacher.
There are echoes of Michael Morpurgo and Nina Bawden, but in a style of her own Carroll (The Girl Who Walked on Air, Strange Star) sews together accessible history with a cracking plot and a character to love in the strong, principled Olive. This gripping read for anyone aged 7 or over is a pertinent reminder of how the effort of a group of individuals can shine light on the darkest of nights.
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