I read this straight after ‘Crooked heart’ from which it follows on. Noel, the precocious evacuee of the preceding story, is now 15; the end of WW2 is nigh, and he and his unlikely guardian have a real bond, after their difficulties with each other in the first volume. I enjoyed this less, I have to say: a bit too much family saga, too many characters and stories going on for my liking. It is brilliantly evocative on London during the blitz though – the constant anxiety and unspoken fear; the sound of bombers overhead and explosions horribly nearby, and the grim determination to ignore the rubble and chaos and grief are fantastically well-done, without being overdone. I found the narrative over-laden and baggy though, although to be fair, life got in the way of reading this, I found it hard to focus on reading for Other Reasons, and at any other time might have thought it was wonderful. The evocation of bombing raids on London and their aftermath has stayed with me though.