Author: Julia Bryan Thomas
Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Jun. 14, 2022
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Sourcebooks Landmark
Book Rating: 9/10
On the island of Guernsey, as WWII looms, many islanders make the heartbreaking choice to ship their children to safety in England, not knowing when (or if) they will be reunited. Acting on faith, Ava and Joseph Simon reluctantly send their 9-year-old son Henry and four-year-old daughter Catherine with their children’s teacher Helen, who will escort them to the mainland.
But Helen’s sister Lily is fleeing an abusive, childless marriage, and, just as the ferry is about to leave, she convinces her sister to let her take Helen’s place so that she can make a new start for herself. It is Lily who takes the children to England, and it is Lily who lets Henry get on a train by himself. But Lily has always wanted a child, and she’s unable to let Catherine go. So she decides to walk the other way, taking Catherine with her in her arms. That split-second decision impacts the lives of everyone long after the war ends.
Perfect for readers of Sold on a Monday, For Those Who Are Lost is at once heartbreaking, thought-provoking, and uplifting.
Pensive, charged, and atmospheric!
For Those Who Are Lost is a poignant, heart-wrenching tale set in England during WWII that takes you into the life of a handful of people whose lives are unimaginably changed one day when Ava and Joseph Simon allow their two children, Henry and Catherine, to evacuate the island of Guernsey, prior to occupation, in the hands of a young woman who unbeknownst to them is using the opportunity to flee her abusive husband and perhaps acquire that one child she’s always yearned for.
The prose is eloquent and expressive. The characters are distressed, brave, and resilient. And the plot, including all the subplots, unravel and intertwine seamlessly into an absorbing tale of life, loss, family, tragedy, desperation, secrets, friendship, parenthood, separation, and war.
Overall, For Those Who Are Lost is one of those novels that sweeps you away so thoroughly to another time and place that before you know it you’re turning the final page and the afternoon is completely gone. It’s a moving, alluring, impactful tale by Thomas that does a beautiful job of highlighting that survival of any kind often involves moral dilemmas, courage, strength, and beyond all else, inconceivable sacrifice.
This novel is available now.
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Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.