Firstly, an apology for the lack of book reviews on here recently. I have been rather preoccupied with my Year 8 extended study project…but more of that later.
I’ve been a huge fan of Emma Carroll since I first met her at a local book festival event which happened to take place at my school four years ago. I have been captivated by each of her novels and I was delighted to see that Waterstones had made her latest work, Letters from the Lighthouse, their children’s book of the month.
The “Queen of Historical Fiction” has, this time, painted a captivating mystery set during the Second World War. The story starts with Olive, her younger brother, Cliff, and her older sister, Sukie, taking an ill-fated trip to the pictures. An air raid interrupts the film, leading to a chain of events which will take each of them far from their familiar London home. Sukie vanishes into the night and their mother decides to send Olive and Cliff to stay with their neighbour’s sister in Devon. On the evacuees train, Olive takes a keen dislike to a girl called Esther, whose unpleasant behaviour will be explained later in the book.
The children receive a mixed reception from the locals when they arrive in a small Devon village, but soon become conspirators in a heroic mission, due to a coded note which Olive has found in the coat that Sukie was wearing on the night of the fateful cinema trip.
Once I had started this book I read it continuously, as I was desperate to find out how the plot would resolve. As she always does, Emma Carroll has created a heroine who is relatable and totally genuine and has constructed a beautifully crafted story that will not let you go until you have reached the final page. I love the way she portrayed the different emotions and viewpoints of the characters and made you understand the importance of empathy and not judging others harshly. I think this is a wonderful book and I would give it a 10/10 rating; I think that anyone from Year 4/5 upwards would enjoy either reading it, or having it read to them.
I was especially lucky that Emma Carroll was signing copies in my local Waterstones today so I had the pleasure of meeting my literary hero again!
Oh, and back to the little matter of my extended study project – I have made Lego stop-frame animations of four of my favourite novels; one of which is Emma Carroll’s previous book, Strange Star, which you can see here (warning – contains spoilers)