Tuesday 6 February 2024

Charlie's Promise by Annemarie Allan

Charlie's PromiseCharlie's Promise by Annemarie Allan
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Time taken to read -

Pages - 192

Publisher - Pokey Hat

Source - Review copy

Blurb from Goodreads

Would you break the rules or break your promise? On the outskirts of Edinburgh, just before the outbreak of WW2, Charlie finds a starving German boy called Josef hiding in the woods near his home. Josef can’t speak English and is desperately afraid, especially of anyone in uniform. Charlie promises to help Josef find his Jewish relatives in the city. It’s a journey that will force them to face their fears, testing their new-found friendship, and Charlie’s promise, to the limit. ‘Poignant, graceful, and relevant for today’ Alex Nye

My Review

Very much young adult, we open with a little boy, hiding at his mothers request as their house is set upon. After Josef finds himself put on a boat and sent off to a country he knows not where, a name and address in his pockets and some German coins. A chance encounter in the woods finds him coming across the path of Charlie and Jean, sparking up a friendship and promise on Charlie's side. Who listens to kids especially when everyone is poor, rumours of horror/crimes against humanity and here we have two weans, altready unlikely pals willing to do what it takes to save their wee pal.

The book is under 200 pages long and your main/central characters are pre teen weans so you have the unique simple view point of children but seeing what is going on. Josef is starving, dirty, cannot speak English and the weans themselves come from not much but loyalty and friendship is everything. Putting themselves at risk and in the firing line for all manners of trouble they embark on an adventure to getting Josef where he is meant to be.

Set mostly in Edinburgh we see the trials the kids face whilst trying to do the right thing, we follow them along the way through some shady characters and perils along the way. It is YA and whilst it does have some veins of darkness/sadness I think it is told really well, the impact of war (and this is at the very beginning) through the medium of innocent children. It also gives a lot of heart lifting moments and strength from the children simply being children and helping a friend despite having so much threat, obstacles and trouble against them, 4/5 from me. I read this in a few hours!

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