The Girl With No Name by Diney Costeloe

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The Girl With No Name by Diney Costeloe

Category: General Fiction
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Luke Marlowe
Reviewed by Luke Marlowe
Summary: A book that could, given the plot elements, be an overwrought, melodramatic cliché of a book, but somehow avoids all of those issues, and due to the skilful writing, and deft characterisation, The Girl with No Name is instead an evocative and emotional page turner, filled with carefully drawn period detail.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 416 Date: May 2016
Publisher: Head of Zeus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1784970055

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Thirteen year old Lisa escapes from Nazi Germany on the Kindertransport and arrives in England in August 1939. She can't speak a word of English and her only belongings are crammed into a small suitcase. Among them is one precious photograph of the family she has left behind in Germany. Lonely and homesick, not knowing if she will ever see her family again, Lisa is adopted by a childless couple, and then bullied at school for being German. But worse is to come when the Blitz blows her new home apart, and she wakes up in hospital with no memory of who she is, or where she came from. The authorities give her a new name and despatch her to a children's home. With the war in full swing, what will become of Lisa now?

I've always been fascinated by the Second World War, most especially tales of the Home Front, with the blitz and evacuation especially intriguing me. Perhaps it was growing up close to an elderly couple who regaled me with tales of the evacuee they had during the war, or perhaps it was a combination of appearing in an amateur production of Lionel Bart's Blitz! – The Musical (not quite as bad as it sounds), and the BBC Children's programme SpyWatch, which, for a number of years, had me suspicious of everything and everyone. I find something particularly moving in the tales of human perseverance and bravery, and try to read about it as often as possible.

So, I was rather excited to receive Diney Costeloe's The Girl with No Name. I had read plenty about British evacuees during the war, but knew little about the Kindertransport and the German evacuees who were sent over here before the war, most from Jewish homes and desperate to escape the persecution that was ravaging their homeland. It really makes for incredibly evocative and moving reading here, with the young lead character alone in a country that is on the verge of war with her own. There are throughout plenty of occasions for melodrama, but the characterisation is incredibly clever, and the appropriate reactions of said characters mean that a sense of realism remains throughout. Rather appropriately too, as the attention to period detail makes this an incredibly evocative read – transporting the reader back to a rather hellish time in our history.

In shedding light on a group rather underrepresented in accounts of this time in history, Diney Costeloe has created a compelling heroine in an interesting and moving story – definitely worth a read. Many thanks to the publishers for the copy.

For further reading I would recommend Life After Life by Kate Atkinson for a another deeply compelling story that has vivid and evocative scenes of a country at war.

Buy The Girl With No Name by Diney Costeloe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Girl With No Name by Diney Costeloe at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy The Girl With No Name by Diney Costeloe at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy The Girl With No Name by Diney Costeloe at Amazon.com.


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