Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

The Valley of Lost Secrets by Lesley Parr

The Valley of Lost Secrets is an evacuee story that focuses on the most important aspect of that endeavour – the day to day lives of the children who were sent from their homes to places so very different from what they knew. Twelve-year-old Jimmy and his six-year-old brother, Ronnie, are evacuated to a village in Wales. Surrounded by green mountains that make them feel so small, the boys are desperate to stay together and to find an adventure within their frightening circumstances.

As they attempt to settle in and find their place in this new life, Jimmy and Ronnie must summon all of their courage and determination to look after each other and stand up for who they are. Faced with bullying and prejudices about evacuees and Londoners, they find making new friends and fitting in difficult.  Through challenges, hardships and unanswered questions, they discover who they can trust and what makes someone a good person. In turns out there’s nothing more important than a little brother and a good friend.

Lesley Parr gives readers a wonderful picture of life in South Wales in the 1940s. From work in the colliery to school, church and home life, we are transported into this time of community and striving to make ends meet.

This book celebrates children being children. Exploration, adventure and discovery frame the heart-warming journey they undertake. They find they are happiest when they are exploring the mountain and playing in the trees. Then, one day, they make a discovery that changes everything. The compassion and empathy that comes out of the mystery on the mountain is powerful. Readers learn that everyone has a story and that we should never judge a person until we know what has come before.  Jimmy and Ronnie find a place where they can belong and live happily even in the midst of a world war.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for this beautiful book!

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

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