Thursday, 14 July 2011


When a particular train is targeted by an enemy bomber, the people of Great Deeping realise there is a spy in their midst. Molly doesn't want to let such a thing ruin her Easter holiday. Soon, she and her friends are occupied with looking for buried treasure. 
But during their search, they stumble upon more than they bargained for...

The Deeping Secrets ~ a tall tales & short stories review

The Deeping Secrets is a sequel to Paradise Barn but can easily be read as a standalone novel.  Set 6 months later, the children once again find themselves in the midst of a set of intriguing events during World War 2.

The Deeping Secrets is a little gem and gives a real insight into life during the 1940's in rural Britain.  Paradise Barn, the prequel to The Deeping Secrets, was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award and Victor Watson effortlessly evokes the period in a very accessible way.  I could picture the children and their surroundings quite vividly and I think for the middle-grade reader this is the perfect introduction to a WW2 story that deals with the stoicism, loss, and sadness of war without being heavy-handed or too frightening.

There's a complex bad guy, a mystery to be solved, and the ever present threat of war all mixed in with subtle observations of everyday life and the innocence of childhood.  As someone who lives in a Cambridgeshire village and knows the flat fens and endless skies extremely well, it was refreshing to read a book set in the region, but also knowing how isolated and small some of these communities are, even to this day, it adds another dimension of intimacy, which also makes the bad guy even more sinister.  In small communties like these, everyone knows everyone else, so the story also asks - 'just how well do we really know other people?'

The Deeping Secrets is a surprisingly complex novel, it educates with a subtle touch and gives a real sense of time and place, but at its heart it's also an old-fashioned adventure that any young reader, and older reader, can enjoy. 

Many thanks to Catnip for sending me a copy of the book.

You can read an interview with, Non Pratt, Commissioning Editor at Catnip, here.


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