Thursday, April 26, 2012

Telling Lies - By Tricia Glensor - HarperCollins

I can't resist a good historical fiction novel, especially when it's based on real people. This is because you get a real a sense of immediacy when you open a book like this, you jump right in - or perhaps it’s simply the hurdle of believability swept away at the start. However, what if the reader doesn't know anything of the time and place of the novel - we'' written well this still is no hurdle. If the story buckets along like this one does, then it shouldn't really be an issue.

And a good storyline it has - a young kiwi WWII airman shot down over France and the brave family who help him escape the Germans.

This is a real story that chronicles the everyday lives of a farming family in German-occupied France. It’s 1942 when the wounded airman’s plane crashes into rural farmland and a French-family decide to help him get back to England.

The book looks into complex family/village relationships as each tries to cope with the German-occupancy on their own terms. Soldiers have a sinister presence, always appearing at the farmhouse unannounced, stopping people randomly in the streets for papers and creating a shadowing menace. You're left with a strong picture of how lift during wartime really was! Individuals’ actions and cooperation with the Germans are risky, but each villager makes their choices about who and how to support the warring sides.

Emotional at the close, almost any child over the age of 10 could read and enjoy this - but older readers will appreciate the deeper social context as well.

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