The author of Jimmy’s War, Lynne Benton, had trouble getting this book published, so in the end she decided to publish it herself – and I’m so glad she did! Jimmy’s War is an engaging and exciting read, with a lovely central character and a great plot.
I have to confess that I did struggle with the first few chapters, though not for the reasons you might expect. Jimmy and his little sister Molly suffer a string of disasters early on, and I began to feel that the story was just too bleak for me. It’s no spoiler to say that Jimmy and Molly have to leave London as bombs rain down on the city during WW2. The reason they have to leave at a specific time though is really very sad indeed, and Jimmy has to carry a terrible secret for most of the book, to spare his little sister the knowledge.
They take refuge with a relative but that, too, goes wrong – and although I’m quite sure many such things did happen at the time, I began to be anxious that the whole book would depress me beyond belief. Happily, I was COMPLETELY wrong, and the second half of the book is a lot more uplifting as Jimmy and Molly make an unexpected friend, find hope and and a welcoming community, and even help foil an invasion.
The writing style is classic rather than modern, which perhaps explains why it didn’t find a traditional publishing home, but that should not put off any competent reader – and the story itself (despite its bleak start) has some truly thrilling moments and a great ending (I cheered). It’s also an excellent addition to the many stories for children about the world wars. You can find it on Amazon here – and Lynne’s website is here.