Sunday, January 14, 2007

London Calling

Yes, another wonderful historical fiction book, and this one has the added intrigue of some fantasy!

Martin Conway comes from a moderately dysfunctional family. He is forced to attend a Catholic preparatory school where he does not fit in and is bullied by some of the popular kids including Hank Lowery. Hank Lowery’s grandfather was revered as a war hero by the school, a fact that gives the young man some power at school. Martin doesn’t want to leave his basement room

Part of the story takes place in our time and part takes place during the London Blitz, 1940, in World War II. Martin’s grandfather worked for Joe Kennedy (father of President Kennedy) at the U.S. Embassy in London then and the elder Lowery was an American military officer also in London at the time. You can read about the Blitz at EyeWitness to history. And you can find out about time travel.

The most interesting “character” in the book is Jimmy who has contacted Martin’s grandfather, his Nana, and now Martin through a cathedral style Philco 20 deluxe radio (see a picture). (Maybe I find this so intriguing because I remember when we had radios similar to this one.) Jimmy is looking for someone to help him contact his father.

Suddenly I became aware of another person in the room. I sat upright, totally alert, straining to see in the dark. That's when it happened. A boy--small, thin, dressed in mud-brown clothes--leaned out from behind the radio and whispered, "Johnny, will you help me?"

Martin is able to travel back in time (in a dream) to the era of the blitz, before the United States entered World War II. He learns about things that happened and that knowledge may change history. He also begins a new relationship with his own father because of what he learns in his visit to the past.

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