Kennedy, Emma "Shoes for Anthony" - 2015
When it was suggested in our book club to read this novel instead of another one we had planned to read because it was something lighter' and less serious after a few 'heavy' books, I had to laugh because it is another war story.
However, it's true, the book is a lot lighter than the ones we read in the last couple of month. It's more or less the story of the author's father who grew up in Wales during the war. It's interesting to see all the events through the eyes of a little boy and his friends, his family who was as poor as church mice and all the other people in the village who stuck together in the grim times.
But we also learned about the hard life the miners had anyway, the risks they took every day, the accidents that could happen and the illness they'd eventually all ended up with.
I had to compare it with the stories my parents told me, they were probably about the same age as Anthony. The biggest difference was that in Wales, nobody had to hide their disgust whereas in Germany, if you were against Hitler, you really had to keep quiet. It didn't take long for someone to report you and you ending up in a concentration camp. At least the miners in Wales had a mutual enemy.
I was glad my book club chose this because it was a beautifully told story with a lot of charm and humour. I'll happily read more by Emma Kennedy.
From the back cover:
"This 1944 World War Two drama tells the story of Anthony, a boy living in a deprived Welsh village, anticipating the arrival of American troops. Suddenly, a German plane crashes into the village mountain. A Polish prisoner-of-war survives and is brought into the community where he builds a close relationship with Anthony. Later, the villagers discover one of the Germans on the plane has survived and is still on the mountain.
Joyous, thrilling, and nostalgic, Emma Kennedy’s Shoes For Anthony will have you wiping your eyes one moment and beaming from ear-to-ear the next. This is a small gem of a novel that reviewers (and readers) will cherish."
We discussed this in our book club in March 2018.