Rural Staffordshire in September 1939, suddenly finds itself host to refugees from the slums of Birmingham. Children that are from the slums and that in some cases are orphans and have nobody other than the church to look after them. Some of these children find themselves in homes that could only be dreamed of, homes where they are given support and are nurtured. Others aren’t quite so lucky; Frank Bourne is one of the not so lucky ones. Cruelly treated by his new guardian, Frank soon learns lessons he would rather not have and ones that will have devastating consequences.
Reminiscent in places of Goodnight Mr Tom, The Evacuee is heavily set in the era when “a good clout never did any harm” and when a blind eye would be turned to what can only be described as abuse. Because of this, the subject matter in hand is extremely disturbing in places and isn’t an easy read. It becomes joyful when something works well for the evacuees, when they are doing well in lessons or the way they all find happiness through each other.
It has to be stated that there are areas where a professional editorial proof read is required. There are grammatical errors that, whilst they do not deter from the story, make it difficult to read in places. That final polish is essential to give an all-round good reading experience.
The Evacuee storyline is not a comforting read, although the final chapters give no end of satisfaction!