30 July 2012

Lizzie and The Guernsey Gang by April W. Gardner, Book review

Publisher: CreateSpace 
ISBN-13: 978-1468144796


 Lizzie Browning loves nothing more than her tiny, island-home of Guernsey, but when German bombs drop on her crystal beach, her peaceful world explodes. For months, the big war in Europe has been nothing more than stories in the paper, but as the enemy takes over Guernsey, the war rushes to her doorstep.

For Lizzie, younger brother Andre, and cousin James, the time to escape is now, and they know just how to do it. Phillip Seifert, the odd boy from down the street, has all the markings of a genuine Nazi-lover. Lizzie knows better than to trust him, but he somehow manages to weasel his way into James’ good graces. 
Phillip joins the gang in their audacious escape plan, and Lizzie can do little more than pray he doesn’t get them all shot. 

But Lizzie soon learns that God doesn’t always answer prayers in the way she expects. He might actually plan for them to live under Nazi rule…forever.

My thoughts:

'Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang' promises to be entertaining as well as a great way to introduces children to the Channel Islands history during WW2. Guernsey was occupied by German Forces from 30 June 1940 until the end of the war merely as an object of propaganda. 
British troops were removed by order of the Crown on 15 June 1940 with most Guernsey islanders children evacuating shortly after. By the 28th of June, German bombers attack St Peter Port leaving 44 dead. War had come to Guernsey, the oldest Jewel in the Crown!

Whilst based on Ruth Davies' life (Islander who inspired Lizzie's character), this is only a fictional story intended to entertain and reflecting the bewilderment of the children (and even adults) who remained behind and faced long years of total isolation from the rest of the world. Their beautiful island occupied, the oppressive rules, the devastating food shortage and their constant fear of reprisals changed everything. 

As such the author is enticingly introducing Lizzie and her gang comprised of her little brother, her cousin and a distinctly disconcerting youngster who might just be associated with collaborators.  
This little group promises to be interesting as we discover yet new adventures. My favourite is James, Lizzie's cousin!
Lizzie learns life is not as it used to be and God is not only with the Britons as German buckles shows:
'Gott mit uns'.

Of note however, the memories of a youngster are definitively quite different from an adult. As such it seems Lizzie and even her younger brother expresses themselves more like adults at times. Keeping in mind children grew very fast during the war, this first book reflects only the first few months after all.

I question also some inaccuracy in the French patois or Dgernesiais, spoken until the late Fourties by the islanders. Despite English being widely spoken today, French is still very much a part of their history and when using it should reflect the feminine and masculine genres as well as good grammar, using the singular or plural form. 

April W. Gardner has opened a vivid window on the resistance in the Channel Islands and knowing its tumultuous past, it will be interesting to see how she brings us more of Lizzie's adventures.

I give this YA novel 4 stars!

About the Author:

 April W Gardner lives in Georgia with her computer nerd Air Force husband, ten year-old bookworm son, and eight year-old art-loving daughter. The Gardners enjoy watching nature shows, visiting national parks, and eating popcorn and chocolate every Friday during family night. April writes her Lizzie stories for God, her precious children, and every other kiddo who loves a good adventure. She is also the author of the Creek Country Saga, an inspirational historical romance series for moms. 

Best of all,  to learn more about Guernsey and what events in the book really happened, to find out what Lizzie’s up to next, and to chat with Ruth, the “real” Lizzie, please visit April on the web at :

( Ruth Davies Age 8)

Note to Readers: 

I am particularly pleased at posting this review as I actually won a copy of this title on 
SARAH SUNDIN's blog! (here)
Sincerest thanks to Sarah and April W. Gardner for this wonderful giveaway!
Even better...April signed my copy and I am absolutely thrilled!
Of course you know this post reflects my opinion only and was not requested by the author!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a wonderful book - I think the history of Guernsey during the war is fascinating. Have you ever been there? I think of visiting it one day...


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