"The musty smell of wood and chalk dust hit Connie’s nostrils. She fell forward onto a sloped wooden desk, knocking hard into her funny bone.
‘What on earth . . ?’ exclaimed Charlie-Mouse, his voice echoing around the empty room. He slid off the back wall and into a seat behind her, scraping hard at her combats. But she didn’t move a muscle. She couldn’t – even though her elbow ached madly and she wanted to shake away the pain ricocheting through her body. Neither could she make a sound her mouth was sealed tight and her tongue glued to the back of her teeth. She moved only her eyes. Hanging portraits of kings, queens and prime ministers glowered back. The background scream of the overhead gas lighting, the whipping of the wind and the shrieks from outside added their challenges to her senses.
Stay calm, breathe, and relax. Everything’s fine.
Someone came into the room. Startled, she nodded and smiled politely, clicking her heels in perfect time across the polished floor. The outside noise built to crescendo as the lady opened the door and blew sharply on her whistle. At once the shrieks fell and the playing children – with small boxes dutifully strung across their bodies – hurried into line. ‘Be quick about it,’ the lady instructed.
The room filled – they moved along the lines of desks – shoes plain and practical, laced and buttoned, and polished in black or brown. Two to a bench seat – their backs a combination of coloured cardigans, pinafores, pullovers, shirts and tanktops."
***An excerpt from this lovely book, children and the young at heart will all enjoy the tale. A mini history lesson easy to digest and the adventures a three delightful characters suddenly caught in a time and place unfamiliar and frightening.
Author Catherine Condie is to be applauded, she has researched her book well, and anyone reading can be safe in the knowledge that her portrayal of War ravaged 1940's England and the evacuation of it's young people is accurate.
The three central characters are a delightful cross patch with the volatile Connie, her brother Charlie-Mouse
and the much misunderstood nasty character of Malcolm all coming to grips in a world they have no way of being prepared for.
Magic, time travel and adventure all entwined in a clever fast-paced and most enjoyable book. A five star book to be sure.
(review of free book)