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Finding Family at Seabreeze Farm by Jo Bartlett #Review

  I am delighted to be featuring the the latest festive novel Jo Bartlett, Finding Family at Seabreeze Farm   which was published by Boldwood Books on 2nd December. This is the second in her Seabreeze Farm series, set at Kelsea Bay. Freya Halliwell is looking forward to marrying the man of her dreams and starting their new life together. After the death of both of her parents, Ollie, along with Freya’s aunt, are the only family she has, but all the family she needs. Until Freya discovers a shocking secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her once happy family and especially the man she used to call dad. Devastated and feeling more alone than ever before, Freya needs time and space to come to terms with the news. But until then the wedding is off! Seabreeze Farm is the perfect place for Freya to recover. But could this beautiful farm perched high on the cliffs, also hold the answer to Freya’s past and reunite her with the family she never even knew s

The Young Survivors by Debra Barnes #Review


 Today I have a rather special book for you. The Young Survivors by Debra Barnes.  
It was published by Duckworth Books on July 23rd.
 
A powerful debut novel inspired by the true story of five siblings struggling to stay together as the tides of war threaten to tear them apart...

When Germany invades France in the Second World War, the five Laskowski children lose everything: their home, their Jewish community and,most devastatingly,their parents who are abducted in the night. There is no safe place left for them to evade the Nazis, but they cling together–never certain when the authorities will come for what is left of them.

Inspired by the poignant, true story of the author’s mother, this moving historical novel conveys the hardship, the uncertainty and the impossible choices the Laskowski children were forced to make to survive the horrors of the Holocaust


My Thoughts

Inspired by a true story, this novel drips with authenticity. It takes a look at the persecution of Jewish families during the Second World War through the eyes of children. Taking the perspectives of various siblings who were living in France at the time, you see the callousness of their treatment and the barbarity which occurred. You share with them, the inexplicable nature of what was happening and how powerless they were to avoid it. Their innocence makes the cruelty all the starker.

    I was also struck by the courage of those who helped the children to survive and avoid the camps. Pierre, the oldest, had to grow up fast. I must say that the most poignant moment for me was when Georgette looked in the mirror and wondered about her twin sister. It is clear that even surviving the horror does not wash away their experiences or bring people back. Love and affection are strong bonds and the need to find people immense. It is a sobering book but one I found at the same time, a fascinating and important read.

In short: An inspiring testament to all- the survivors and those who did not.   



About the Author

 
Debra Barnes studied journalism and contributes to the Jewish News. Since January  2017,  she  runs  a  project  for  The  Association  of Jewish  Refugees (AJR)  to  produce  individual  life  story  books  for  Holocaust  survivors  and refugees. She has been interviewed by BBC Radio regarding her mother’s story and has had a short documentary made about her research.

You can follow Debra here: Website   |  Twitter   |  Facebook

Book link: Amazon UK 

Thanks to Debra Barnes and Fanny Emily Lewis of Duckworth Books for a copy of the book and a place on the tour. 

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