Kezzie at War by Theresa Breslin

The story is set in a coal mining village in Scotland in the 1930’s. Kezzie’s mother is dead and she lives with her father, grandfather and younger sister, Lucy. They are a close family and, despite the economic depression, they live well and Kezzie dreams of going to university and becoming a doctor. Fate intervenes and Kezzie finds herself battling for her, and her family’s, survival. Matters get worse when Lucy wonders off and, with the authorities believing she is an orphan, she is shipped off to Canada. Throughout these ordeals Kezzie finds the strength and courage to protect her family and turn things round. When WW2 is declared, Kezzie faces more dangers, but opportunities arise too.

This is the story of a young girl defying the odds to keep her loved ones together and to make the best of life in the most difficult of circumstances. Against the backdrop of Kezzie’s struggles, the reader learns about the difficult lives of miners, the impact of the 1930’s recession, the struggles faced by destitute families, the practice of sending orphans or children of poor families to Australia and Canada, the problems faced by families from Italy who made homes for themselves in Britain but found themselves on the side of the enemy in WW2 and the impact of the war on Clydebank. The ending is expected but there is plenty of action, adventure and drama to entertain.

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