When the War Came Home
Publisher: Bloomsbury Children’s Books
Set shortly after the First World War, this historical mystery is a compelling read. Natty is cross when Mam loses her job for speaking out against unfair working conditions, as without an income, they cannot pay their rent so are forced to move. They go to stay with Aunty Mary and Uncle Dewi, who run a small farm in the Welsh countryside, but Natty finds it challenging to share a room with her cousin Nerys, who has bags of enthusiasm and never stops talking.
Natty is saddened to learn that her elder cousin Huw is struggling with shellshock after returning from the war. When she befriends Johnny, a young soldier who is being treated for amnesia at the local infirmary, she desperately wishes she could help them both to come to terms with the horrors they witnessed.
There is a lot packed into this beautifully written tale, which provides a fascinating insight into what life was like in the 1920s. It features engaging characters, a multi-layered plot, an element of mystery and a wonderfully headstrong protagonist. A range of topics are explored, including the suffrage movement, workers’ rights, the education system and the devastating after-effects of war.