The Valley of Lost Secrets
A beautiful story about family, home and belonging.
When Jimmy and his little brother Ronnie are evacuated from London to South Wales, all Jimmy wants to do is go back home. Not everyone in his new town wants to welcome the evacuees, his friends from home have all changed, and a gruesome discovery at an old tree makes him wonder if Wales might be more dangerous than London, after all.
Stuck in a small town that's full of big secrets, Jimmy will have to navigate homesickness, fitting in, and changing friendships on top of the war.
Parr's writing brings the Welsh countryside to life in vivid detail. The Valley of Lost Secrets offers a brilliant snapshot of life as an evacuee, which children will find in equal parts fascinating and heartbreaking. It reminded me of stories by grandad used to tell me from his own time as an evacuee, and I realised these first-hand accounts won't be something my own children get to experience, making books like The Valley of Lost Secrets even more valuable.
Despite the difference in time and circumstance, Jimmy is a character young readers will easily relate to, as he struggles to accept his new life in Wales and resents his younger brother, Ronnie, for the way he fits in with the Thomases. I read this book in one day, hooked by the characters and story. I cannot recommend it enough.
Thank you Bloomsbury for letting me review an advanced copy of The Valley of Lost Secrets.