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review: Paradise barn by Victor Watson

Paradise barn by Victor Watson
Published by Catnip
Challenge: BBC
Source: Review copy

September 1940. War rages across Europe, and thousands of people, men, women and children, have lost their lives.

Despite the air fights overhead life in the quiet village of Great Deeping in the Fens goes on much as usual, until an unthinkable event: a murder. Molly, Annie and Adam, an evacuee from London, are determined to solve the mystery of the Paradise Barn. But it’s one thing hunting for clues, another to track down a murderer. With the war bringing so many strangers to the village, who can they really trust? 

Paraside barn is a real gem of a book and one I would definitely recommend of anyone who likes YA books set during the Second World War.

The story itself centres around three children living in rural East Anglia during the early years of  World War Two. The girls, Abigail and Molly are residents of Great Deeping and a boy called Adam who is an evacuee staying in the village. The main plot line finds them trying to solve two connected mysteries. The first being a murder mystery and second trying to catch a thief who is apparently at large in the village.

The thing I really enjoyed the most about this book was the characterisation. I loved how realistic the children o the piece were. They were wonderfully charming, a little bit naively innocent as well as being quite clever in how they went about uncovering the mysteries they were trying to solve. I really thought they were done really well and fit quite nicely with the historical period they were in

This is a book that I think would be brilliant for teachers to use in class or simply recommend to students to read to get more of a feel for the time period it is set in. The story itself is well paced and engaging and the characters are easy to relate to. I liked that the story was on the whole historically accurate but the historical references weren't over done to the point where it became a chore to read. I also think it would have appeal to both boys and girls as it had both male and female protagonists and elements of the story would have broad appeal to both genders. It also nice in that the story is quite tame and gore free and not one you would need to edit before looking at with a more vulnerable or younger group.

I loved the mystery element to this book. I enjoyed following the main characters as they pieced together all the clues and liked how you as a reader started to piece together answers with them without the answer being revealed too prematurely.

All in all a fab mystery novel with cracking main characters set in a interesting historical setting. Definitely one to check out if you have the opportunity.


serendipity_viv said…
ooh excellent. Catnip produce some excellent fiction that can be used in the classroom too.
I've not heard of this one before but it sounds quite good!