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Monday, December 11, 2017

The Runaway Children by Sandy Taylor - Book Review & Giveaway

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Review by Suze

It's 1942 and life in Bermondsey in London is becoming more and more dangerous. That is why thirteen-year-old Nell and her five-year-old sister Olive are being evacuated. They end up in Wales. Living in the countryside is a new experience, something they have to get used to. Being taken in by kind people isn't a given, will Nell and Olive be lucky enough to find loving people to look after them while they are far away from their family?

Initially things seem to be going well for Olive and Nell, but something changes and this makes their lives a lot more unstable. Nell tries to protect Olive as well as she can, but it isn't easy to keep her little sister safe. When something bad is about to happen to Olive it's up to Nell to save her sister. However, her decision will have huge consequences and it's the beginning of a long and dangerous journey. Will they survive the difficult road ahead?

The Runaway Children is a beautiful emotional story about war, family, friendship and love. I immediately liked Nell. She's strong, kindhearted and caring. She has to look out for her little sister and Olive is quite something. She's wise for her age, she's incredibly beautiful and she says the strangest things. Reading about her often made me smile and it brought some wonderful lightness to a story set in heavy times. I liked that combination of hard and soft and brightness and dark very much. Sandy Taylor skillfully alternates between hope and sadness, which is something that suits the time frame incredibly well.

What I liked the most about The Runaway Children is the close bond between Nell and Olive. It's indestructible, they're always there for each other and it's clear they love each other very much and would do anything for one another. I'm a big fan of stories about sisters and this is definitely a good one. I was impressed by the warmth of their relationship and the easy way they talk to each other. The age gap makes their bond even more interesting and the dialogue is fantastic.

Sandy Taylor has written a brilliant gripping story. I was captivated by Nell and Olive from the start. I couldn't turn the pages quickly enough to find out if they'd survive the war and read The Runaway Children in one sitting. The people Nell and Olive meet on their journey are intriguing and some of them immediately found a way to my heart. The Runaway Children is filled with unexpected twists and turns and has a gorgeous ending that moved me to tears. I love it when I feel so much when I'm reading a story. I highly recommend this absolute gem of a story.


If you love historical fiction you should definitely read The Runaway Children.

About Sandy Taylor

Sandy grew up on a council estate near Brighton. There were no books in the house, so Sandy’s love of the written word was nurtured in the little local library. Leaving school at fifteen, Sandy worked in a series of factories before landing a job at Butlins in Minehead. This career change led her to becoming a singer, a stand up comic and eventually a playwright and novelist.



One very lucky reader of With Love for Books will receive a digital copy of The Runaway Children.

The winner will be notified by email and has 3 days to respond. All of our giveaways are international.


  1. The Runaway Children sounds like a gripping and heartbreaking story of two evacuee sisters during the Second World War.

  2. this looks engrossing and perfect for an evening of reading!!

  3. Thank you for introducing me to this book, it sounds like something I'd really enjoy reading!

  4. This sounds like my type of book - the type I wouldn't want to put down

  5. I feel this will be a bittersweet story.

  6. Sandy, this is totally the type of book I love to read!!

  7. I really want to read this book it looks interesting even from the cover so thank you sooo much for the chance and good luck to all

  8. I would love to read this book but don't have kindle. Can I please receive via email, if I do win? Thanks for the opportunity.

  9. This sounds like a fabulous read, would love to receive it

  10. Sandi, I'm excited to discover your books! This one sounds so interesting and the cover is adorable. :)

  11. Wow, love the sound of this. Always enjoy hearing what happened when children got evacuated during the War. Just been to London too (not very relevant though lol).

  12. I have a special interest in WWII fiction, so TRL!

  13. The story of the Runaway Children is for me a jewel in the crown of Sandy Taylor's wonderful Brighton trilogy (The Girls from See Saw Lane; Counting Chimneys; and When we Danced at the end of the Pier).

    Such evocative and captivating writing; full of believable and memorable characters variously enjoying, enduring and suffering the twists and turns, ups and downs, of life in Britain during the second World War. Sandy takes the reader on an inspiring and heartfelt journey with humour and pathos, and every other human emotion in between. Tears of laughter and sadness, and a happy ending. What more could one want from a good book.

    What a great TV series and film this story would make.

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