Archives for category: Lucy Strange

Image result for our castle by the sea chicken house

Published by Chicken House

There really is something about Chicken House. They seem to publish good books. Well written with interesting plots. This is another such.

Set at the beginning of the ‘last’ war (the Second WW). Pet’s world is secure. She is happy living with her parents, & older sister in a lighthouse at the coast. Her father is responsible for the light – and as the war begins, for messages of national importance. Her mother, an artist, is originally from Germany. Things change as fears grow of the possibilities of submarines in their cove. As propaganda takes hold. Pet and her sister find themselves dealing with anti-Germanic racism at school, and then at home, when Mutti comes under verbal attack. Then she is taken away by the authorities…

This is full of mysteries and secrets, What was Mutti doing early in the morning and what was Pet’s sister doing, if she wasn’t overhauling her small boat? Is everything and everyone, as innocent as they seem, as they should be? Pet finds herself questioning the very basis of her relationship with her family.

I am in the middle of this (page 146 of 132) – a book I am now carrying around with me and reading with great pleasure at quiet times at work (not many of those at the moment), on the train, and just before I turn over to curl around the cat to fall asleep.

Brexit might be a problem. Is a problem, but we have as a Nation gone through so much more. This is a tale of one such time – one that I am relieved not to have lived through.

A book that asks the questions hardest to answer. Who are you, your family? Your nationality? Especially if born in one country, but with your own family living in another. Particularly at times of war.

This is Lucy Strange’s second book and is, I think, better than the first (The Secret of Nightingale Wood), which is always good – I love it when author’s writing improves…as they go on to their next book. Particularly if the first one is good too – it can only get better!

Read it. A superb book for Christmas.

I have just finished it. I am pleased to say it is one of those books that you have to put down, once in a while, as you become more worried about what is going to happen and are hoping it is all going to turn out as you would like. A stupendous book.


Not yet published (Chicken House) – October 2016 –

Its just after the first World War. Henry (Henrietta) is living at home with her family.  All is not well. Henry’s mother is ill, and the doctor comes regularly, but she doesn’t seem to improve. ‘Piglet’ – the baby, is unsettled and cross, and Nanny Jane just has too much to do to spend much time with Henry. Her father is far away, working abroad and her brother, Robert…though encouraging, seems ephemeral…

The house is set in the shadows of a wood, in which periodically Henry has spotted the flame from a bonfire, glinting between the tree trunks. There is the smell of wood smoke in the air. Henry sinks into a time of reading, of stories, exploring the house, and an old attic, and watching the coming and going of the doctor and his wife.

There is mention of a place called Helldon, as Henry’s mother becomes less and less aware. Henry is unsure about what Helldon is, or why the idea of her mother going there bothers her. She just knows its not something she wants to happen.

This is an atmospheric story of families, secrets and friendship.

The proof I read was illustrated with simple line drawings – beautifully done – as chapter headings, which reflect the content of the story. It is a story to read in the evenings, preferably in front of an open fire…