For THOSE who are LOST
by Julia Bryan Thomas
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Julia Bryan Thomas has long loved this genre of fiction, and those who have read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society recognize her skills of dropping fictitious people into times and places that actually exist in dramatic times of history and producing strongly recommended reading from a different viewpoint.
For THOSE who are LOST is another such book which begins in 1940 when 5,000 children actually were evacuated from the Guernsey Islands (part of the British Channel Islands) and separated from their families for the five years that followed. Much has been written about this period, which began this days after the invasion of the Nazis. There was an immediate list of tabus, churches closed, meetings of over three people, uses stopped, and all cars and radios burned. Many of the men were sent to prisons on surrounding islands.
The invasion terrified the residents and fear for their children was divided between having them sent to England with their teachers or remain on the island facing imminent danger.
This theme of the story is “what happened to the women and children?” It is both heartbreaking and uplifting. There is guilt among the parents who sent their children to safety. Fear from parents who chose for their families to remain in place for however long the war lasted. There was no one solution for all families, and the fate of Catherine, age 4 and Henry, age 9 is deeply wrapped in consequences of their removal from their father and mother, Ave and Joseph, whereas Much has been written about the separation, but little has touched on the long-term effect for those families and their children. An additional consideration for Henry is that the teacher who was in their escape sent him on a train with boys to another location while she held on to the girl, and became her mother. Many lives were affected even more personally than they could expect when reunion of these families began.
Five years in the care off different families found victory still brought problems to solve for the children who packed up and returned to their homes and former families; some of the older ones remained with their adopted families and moved on in pursuit of the new life, and the others, like Henry and Catherine who dealt with emotional adjustments from somewhere in between.
Many lies, secrets, hurts, mistakes and traumatic turns were coming down the pike. Forgiveness was required, but that act was not an easy step.
A very complete Reader’s Guide is provided for discussion of these morally challenging choices
and their consequences. The characters are as well defined as our next-door neighbor. These are real people with real life changing choices and sins. For THOSE who are LOST is a subtle reminder of the horrors of war for more people than just the military. It just seems worse when we see children’s normalcy affected and their realization that there has not been a LAST war to end all wars.
Thanks to Full Circle Bookstore for sharing these books with FRIDAY readers.