The Valley of Lost Secrets


Jimmy doesn’t want to call Mr and Mrs Thomas ‘Aunty Gwen’ and ‘Uncle Alan’! They’re not his and Ronnie’s Dad and Nana. Yet they’ve been evacuated miles from concrete London to Llanbryn, a coal mining village, where curtains twitch and they eat strange food like lamb cawl.

It seems that everything’s changed, from Florence Campbell, to Duff. Furthermore, it seems there are suspicions about the evacuees like him, not least from the Reverend Evans. What is the history between him and Mr Thomas?

As Jimmy struggles to accept what is happening to him, feeling defensive and then awkward as he sees how happy Ronnie is, he ventures out and around the village. What might he discover? Thereafter whom might he trust with what he finds? Finally, what does it mean, and how might it affect the past and then the present?

The Valley of Lost Secrets is a truly outstanding novel of such assured story telling. It is convincing, engrossing and thoroughly emotionally connected. We share Jimmy’s feelings, willing him to show his best side, trust the Thomases and thereafter those who know and love him best. Bookwagon recommends this book to Wales, Islington and beyond!


The Valley of Lost Secrets

Lesley Parr


Jimmy is heartsick at leaving Islington and Dad and Nana as he and Ronnie are evacuated to Wales. The countryside and then the seeming small-mindedness of Llanbryn do not appeal to him. Though it seems that Ronnie is quick to accept their host family’s warmth, Jimmy is resistant. How can he call the Thomases Aunty Gwen and Uncle Alan? At least he’ll have his London friend, Duff, to play with, won’t he?
Yet what if everything changes within this new setting? What if scenes of coal heaps and valleys become as familiar as lamb cawl and candlewick bedspreads? Then again, what if the village seems to harbour a secret, something to do with the Thomases? Furthermore, what if truths you believed, such as the hopelessness of the Campbells, were dispelled? Finally, what if your endless searching for the truth might uncover something hidden, from the past?
The Valley of Lost Secrets is an outstanding middle grade novel. I could not put it down. Lesley Parr’s empathetic storytelling is gripping and realistic so that we feel what Jimmy feels. Bookwagon recommends The Valley of Lost Secrets to every home and classroom. Like Letters from the Lighthouse, it is a WWII evacuation story, yet it is different in tone and tale. Furthermore, this extends us so that we feel the separation, strangeness, new connection and experience.


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