Thursday, June 6, 2019

Nevil Shute and Pied Piper

My love affair with Jack Reacher has come to a bit of a halt. I am discovering that binge reading 
Reacher doesn't work for me. Slowly does it, is the way to go, with Mr Child's creation,  so he's on hold for a bit.

However, in the meantime... I was chatting to a man the other day who was researching a paper on the late British/Aussie author, Nevil Shute, and I recall reading Shute's "On the Beach" some years ago. So I searched the library catalogue. The book "Pied Piper" took my fancy so I got it out and 24 hours later, on the bus, in my lunch breaks, on the bus again, and at home when I should have been doing actual writing of a romance novel, I have devoured and finished this wonderful story. 

It is set soon after the beginning of the Second World War, and is the story of an Englishman, John Howard, who is in France when the German army is advancing.  His pilot son has died and, grieving, Howard heads over to do some holiday fishing, not aware that life there is about to become very dangerous, very soon. He ends up with a bunch of children (that he picks up along the way), as he tries to get them to safety. Hence the Pied Piper title.

They are of different nationalities, these young boys and girls, and he cares for them, determined to somehow get them out of harm's way, even as his plans seemingly fall apart right in front of him as the Germans advance closer and closer.
It is filled with detail, like what they eat (the kids all drink coffee and there's lots of bread and wine, of course, and smoking), and details of this perilous journey as they navigate occupied France to try to make it north and head across the Channel to England.

You know, there is even a kitten called Jo-Jo, at one point. Jo-Jo! Such an adorable name for a kitten.

It builds to a gripping climax with an unexpected (I thought) ending. It’s the kind of book that makes you wonder how you'd have coped if you were in Mr Howard's position, back in the war, as our ancestors did. I also rather liked the odd bits of French. Isn't it amazing how you can remember so much French from school girl days? I impress myself at times.

Thus I do believe I'm on the cusp of a Nevil Shute binge.
Oh, there is just so much to read in this world, and so little time.
So little time!!


No comments:

Debbie Macomber and a nod to LaVyrle

A recent read, back in the old romance vein, that I adored was Cottage by the Sea , by Debbie Macomber. Macomber has moved more into wom...