Thursday, May 19, 2016

Bolton Road Spy Catches by Margaret Pearce

Bolton Road Spy Catches by Margaret Pearce starts off a little slowly for my liking but soon picks up momentum, Akin to a Famous Five novel, but much more sophisticated in terms of history and dialogue, the story is set in Victoria after the bombing of Darwin by the Japanese. A group of five children, Nancy, Mabel, Janet, Fred and Lennie have created a group to raise money for the war effort but also to track down informants and saboteurs. The story really has much more to do with the adventures of Nancy, Janet and Mabel in these efforts as Fred has nicked off with close friend Bill Owen with ideas of joining up at only thirteeen! As for Lennie, well his character is scarce. The reader is given insight into the life of ordinary families and the hardships which were endured on the home front in terms of rationing, clothing coupons, sharing housing, and just plain making do with what one has. The cooking teacher in the story really brings back memories of some of the home economics teachers I had as a child with their lack of sympathy and bullying ways. To read this book is to truly witness the life of students during the second world war, you step back in time, wear the uncomfortable and restrictive school uniforms and step into the authoritarian and suffocating school environment, and even clean the outside dunny. You ride the public transport, interact with soldiers and sailors and witness the bonds between neighbors during difficult times.

In order to read this book I had to continually cut open cojoined pages as this novel obviously wasn't cleanly cut during the publishing process. Overall, though it was an enjoyable read and I shall be keeping my eye out for more of her books.

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