Book Reviews

‘The best moments in reading are when you come across something - a thought, a feeling, a way of looking at things - which you had thought special and particular to you. And now, here it is, set down by someone else, a person you have never met, someone even who is long dead. And it is as if a hand has come out, and taken yours.’ Alan Bennett

“Many a book is like a key to unknown chambers within the castle of one’s own self.” ― Franz Kafka

Friday, 9 August 2013

Book Beginnings (8) - Little Exiles - Robert Dinsdale

Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays

The idea, as stated on the host's blog, is 'to share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading, along with your initial thoughts about the sentence, impressions of the book, or anything else the opener inspires.' There's a hash tag #BookBeginnings for twitter etc too, and a master linky list on the host's blog. I've got a couple of books on the go at the moment so I've just picked one out to mention here.

My Book Beginning

Little Exiles by Robert Dinsdale

Published by HarperCollins

'The boy standing vigil at the end of the lane, a Christmas lantern in his hand, still believes his father is coming home. Christmas, he has been taught, is a time of family, when errant sisters might come back to the fold, when black-sheep brothers might go carolling with the mothers they say they despise.'

I feel like this is tinged with sadness, that the boy's father isn't going to arrive, and that Christmas brings people together but under difficult circumstances...
I'm interested in reading this novel partly because of the settings - Leeds and Australia - and partly because of the factual background to the events. (see below)

Synopsis from goodreads:

Jon Heather, proud to be nearly nine, keeps a vigil at the end of his lane. Determined not to be beaten by the cold he stands and waits for his father. It is Christmas Eve, 1948. Christmas, a time of family and a time of miracles. Although he has never once seen his father, Jon knows that he is coming home.

But Jon’s father does not return, and one evening no longer able to cope, his mother leaves him by the door above which the legend reads, Chapeltown Boys Home of the Children’s Crusade. Several weeks later, still believing his mother will return for him, Jon finds himself on a boat set for Australia. Promised paradise and a new, better life, Jon soon realises the reality is very, very, different.

Epic in scope, LITTLE EXILES is the incredibly moving and heartbreaking story of one boy’s struggle to get home. Rooted in historical fact - based on the forced child migration between Britain and Australia that took place after WWII - this novel shines a light on the appalling human cost of the Children’s Crusade.


  1. Oh, how sad! But I do want to know what happens to him, now. Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.

    1. Thanks for visiting and commenting Laurel-Rain. I know, it is rather sombre a start.

  2. I am intrigued by the opening...and I love the book jacket. I'm adding this to my TBR. Thanks for stopping by my blog. Have a wonderful weekend!

  3. This sounds so tragic, but it's a beautiful image, a boy standing there with a lantern! I also really like the cover, it looks classic! Thanks for sharing, I hope you have a great weekend!
    My Friday Post
    Juli @ Universe in Words

    1. It is, I agree. Thanks back too!

  4. This sounds haunting... Christmas can be such a bittersweet time for many...

    1. It certainly can. Thanks for commenting Joanne.

  5. I loved this book - hope you enjoy it too Lindsay :)

  6. Aww, that was a very sad opening! The premise of the novel sounds interesting and I like the cover.

    Thanks for sharing and for dropping by my blog last Friday, I hope you had a lovely weekend :)

    - Lianne @

    1. Thanks for visiting Lianne, and for the lovely comment.


Thank you so much for taking the time to visit and leave a comment. It's great reading your comments and I really appreciate them :)