In the Second World War, hundreds of thousands of children were evacuated from British cities and sent to areas of the country where it was regarded that they would be safer from bombing.
They went to stay with complete strangers, many of whom were unenthusiastic about having a young guest staying with them for an unspecified length of time.
This is a story about two such city children, how their lives change and how they get involved in a dangerous adventure in their new country home on the Isle of Wight. Their adventure leads them to TREASON!
For ages 8 -11 years
Available from Amazon in paperback and ebook format.
Treason is the first book in The Children of Clifftop Farm series. The sequel, Treachery, has just been released and the third book, Trouble is coming soon..
“I read the first page of treason and I couldn’t stop, I only read it three days! If you like the Second World War you will love this book it, is it exciting and fun, it tells the brilliant story of two siblings who get evacuated from the city to the Isle of Wight, but the oldest boy wasn’t looking when they were lined up to get onto the trains. The young girl was put on the train before the boy, so they were on different trains and got split up. the boy Alfie is put with a family of 4 two children and a mother when Alfie comes the three of the children uncover a German spy on the island can they save Britain. ”
Reviewed by B. Davies, age 10, January 2023
Aimed primarily at the younger end of the young adult market this historical fiction story is especially interesting as it focuses on both the excitement, and emotion, of those children who were evacuated to the countryside during Operation Pied Piper, which, at the start of the Second World War, saw hundreds of thousands of children taken to places of safety.
Judith Neville is twelve years old and Alfie Field is eleven when they are taken from their families and relocated to the Isle of Wight. Judith’s privileged background in a wealthy London suburb couldn’t be more different from Alfie who has been brought up in a working class household in Portsmouth and yet neither of their upbringings have prepared the children for life on Cliff Top Farm where they are cared for by kind hearted Vera Orton and her eleven year old son, Jimmy.
The story is really interesting and has more than enough adventure to satisfy the confident reader and yet it is also a story which could be read by an interested adult, I certainly enjoyed reading of Judith, Alfie and Jimmy’s adventures. The story has a sympathetic edge which allows a glimpse into the emotional wrench of leaving behind their homes and the difficulties in learning to adapt to new and very different surroundings. The little snippets of historical fact which are highlighted at various points in the story help to put the whole thing into context.
The dramatic ending certainly lends itself to a continuation of this Cliff Top Farm series with the next adventure “Treachery” to follow…as they say, watch this space.
Best read with…a glass of warm milk and a slice of Vera’s apple pie.
Reviewed by Jo Barton, January 2023
Writing successful historical novels for children can be very difficult. Overwhelm the young reader with too much ‘history’ can kill the story for them. It’s all in the balance. A strong plot, interesting characters to follow and root for; the historical element almost needs to be secondary. Thankfully, Michael E. Wills, the author of Treason, seems to understand this. He’s written a very accessible historical adventure story set during World War Two in which, yes, the historical element is important, but it’s the twisting, unpredictable plot and the colourful characters which are very much center stage.
Set mostly on the Isle of Wight, the story follows two city children who are evacuated to the island at the beginning of the war. What follows is a thoroughly enjoyable adventure, not only in terms of the dangers the children face but also in terms of trying to adapt from a privileged urban life to, well, slumming it a little!
The author is a talented writer who excels in describing the vibrant settings and the complexity (needs and wants) of his young characters. There is a flowery, almost Enid Blyton feel to the story (particularly in the opening chapters) which fits the historical nature of the novel, and the author works hard to keep the speech authentic and in keeping with his characters’ upbringings.
So, would I recommend this book? Totally. Who to? Well, schools in England love books set during World War Two, particularly if they happen to be strongly plotted and well-written – as is very much the case here. So I think it would fit perfectly in a school library. I would also recommend it to the parents of 9 – 12 year-olds who enjoy a slightly slower-paced adventure with well-constructed characters and (particularly towards the end) lots of suspense. And, of course, anybody interested in 1940s Isle of Wight will find it a fascinating read.
A ‘Wishing Shelf’ Book Review www.thewsa.co.uk, January 2023