Sunday Book Review – While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle and Elsie Eaton

Book reviews by D.G. Kaye

 

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Today I’m sharing my review of Robbie Cheadle’s latest release – While the Bombs Fell. While Robbie is better known for her children’s books she co-authors with her son, Michael Cheadle, Robbie has written this book in collaboration with her mother, Elsie Eaton, to share her accounting of her childhood during World War II in Suffolk, England.

 

 

 

Blurb:

 

What was it like for children growing up in rural Suffolk during World War 2?
Elsie and her family live in a small double-storey cottage in Bungay, Suffolk. Every night she lies awake listening anxiously for the sound of the German bomber planes. Often they come and the air raid siren sounds signalling that the family must leave their beds and venture out to the air raid shelter in the garden.
Despite the war raging across the English channel, daily life continues with its highlights, such as Christmas and the traditional Boxing Day fox hunt, and its wary moments when Elsie learns the stories of Jack Frost and the ghostly and terrifying Black Shuck that haunts the coastline and countryside of East Anglia.
Includes some authentic World War 2 recipes.

 

My 4 Star Review:

 

This book is a collaboration between author Robbie Cheadle and her mother Elsie Eaton, as Cheadle expresses her mother’s wartime memories written through the eyes of a young Elsie.

I would say that the writing style and voice here is more geared toward a younger audience – older children as well as adults, who may want to learn what it was like in wartime for a child growing up with the uncertainty of siren warnings, sharing beds, toys and clothing with siblings, and their playtime amusements taking them through til the end of the war. We learn that the simplest of makeshift toys and something as simple as eating an orange can delight a child, keeping them oblivious to the surroundings of war.

The authors give us rich descriptions of the hardships taken on by Elsie’s father to keep the family fed, as well as the day-to-day chores Elsie’s mother performed to keep her family clean, fed, safe, and happy through the changing seasons and elements that change with the seasons. It was interesting to read and learn how the simplest of food and sparse household items were meticulously used to keep a family going through difficult times – and a good reminder about the abundance of everything we so often take for granted in our present every day living. There are bonus wartime recipes shared at the end of the book.

 

 

64 thoughts on “Sunday Book Review – While the Bombs Fell by Robbie Cheadle and Elsie Eaton

    1. Thanks for trying twice Stevie, lol. I see you thought your comment didn’t go through but it did both times. I don’t know why my blog is doing that to readers. Can you please tell me what happens first time you try to comment that leads you to believe it didn’t go through?

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  1. Thank you, Debby, for your lovely review of this book. It is a book for older children so you are quite right about that.

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    1. My pleasure Robbie. I sensed that from the reading, even though the stories were informing about everyday life in wartime for anyone who may be interested what life was like back then. 🙂

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    1. Welcome Jacqui. Although, I will say, it’s a lovely read if you’re at all curious to know how one family managed to get through the lean years with everyday living. 🙂

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    2. Hi Jacqui, I tried to model the style of this book on the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was trying make it interesting for a wide range of ages.

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  2. Wow… well done to Robbie and congratulations on this exciting new book..
    Life was resourceful back then, As I listened to my own Grandmothers accounts of rations, and bomb shelters..
    Those in the industrial towns were targeted..
    I feel lucky to have been born in the baby booming years..

    Thank you for sharing Debby and Congratulations again Robbie..

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    1. Thank you so much, Sue, for reading and commenting. Interestingly enough, cities of historical interest like Norwich and Canterbury were also targeted by the Germans for bombing.

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  3. Hi Debby – what a great little book for so many of us to read if we want to understand more about the day to day life of living in England at that time. Love that they’ve included recipes etc … I’m sure it’ll be well read by many and find its way into various small libraries – community ones etc … Excellent to know about – thanks … cheers Hilary

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    1. Thank you, Hilary, for your interest and comments. It is a good idea of yours to send it to the local libraries. I am sure they would find it interesting.

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    1. Thank you, Olga, that was the main reason I wrote this book, so that the future and younger generations don’t forget about the horrors of living through a war.

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  4. Lovely review Debby and it is great that Robbie’s mother is sharing her memories. So often these stories of the hardships and fear faced by those on the homefront are forgotten and living history is so important. Thank you and congratulations again to Robbie and her mum.♥♥

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    1. Thank you, Sally, I agree that it is important that the youth don’t forget. We need to remember the past to prevent re-occurrences.

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    2. Thank you so much, Sally, you have been so supportive with this new book of mine. I really appreciate it. Thank you again for sharing to your blog.

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  5. Hi Debby! I’m very intrigued by Robbie’s book. Getting a glimpse of WWII through the eyes of a child is a fascinating and unique experience. I have it in my Kindle and it’s moving up on my TBR list. Thank you for the great review! 😚💕

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    1. Thank you for your interest in this book, Vashti. I hope you enjoy it. I saw your new book over at Craig’s. It sounds amazing.

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  6. Sounds intriguing. I’m reminded I have a copy of the diary my grandpa kept while on the German Death March in WWII. Some of the stories he told are brutal. I used his diary for a research methods class in college. I really should find somewhere to send that project off to so others can read it as a historical document.

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    1. Wow, that must be a very interesting diary. I am sure many people would be very interested in you grandpa’s story, Jeri.

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  7. Thanks for an excellent review, Debby. Congrats to Robbie and Elsie for their achievement. Just last month my friend told me that she still fears lightning and thunder, because they remind her bombs falling during her wartime childhood in England. These are important stories to share and I’m glad Robbie and her mom are doing so through their book.

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    1. Hi Cynthia. Thanks for dropping by. Yes, it was a wonderful idea to document this bit of history. And I’ve also heard of a few people who cower at thunder for same reasons.

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    2. Thank you, Cynthia. I can well imagine someone being scared of lightning and thunder when they have lived through bombing. We need to keep these memories alive so that the youth are aware of the horrors of war.

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  8. Great review. I’m reading it right now. Different place, different time. The war affected folks living in England much differently than those living in Canada so it is good to read this book.

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    1. I hope you enjoy it, Darlene. It was a very different time to our modern life. Very different worries and experiences.

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  9. Congrats to Robbie on the book and wonderful review. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Debby. The simple pleasures take on a whole new meaning in times of war. This sounds like a fascinating read. 🙂

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    1. Thank you, Diana. It was a very different life to the one I know. I learned so much about my mother and her family that I never knew before. It was an interesting experience.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa. I was aiming at the pre-teen and teen market and upwards. I think it is really good for children to learn about how things were in the war and about hardship and deprivation as well as making the best of things and having a good time without having a lot of “things”.

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  10. Hi Jacqui, I tried to model the style of this book on the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. I was trying make it interesting for a wide range of ages.

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  11. Thank you so much, Sue, for reading and commenting. Interestingly enough, cities of historical interest like Norwich and Canterbury were also targeted by the Germans for bombing.

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  12. Thank you for your interest in this book, Vashti. I hope you enjoy it. I saw your new book over at Craig’s. It sounds amazing.

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  13. Your statement “a good reminder about the abundance of everything we so often take for granted in our present every day living” is the main reason why younger generations (like the entitled millennials) should read this book! I could listen forever to my oma (grandma) telling me stories about WWII, and if it wasn’t for books like these, the war – and its hardships – would be forgotten. People are too spoiled these days, to realize how much worse life could be (and was for older generations).

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    1. I agree Liesbet, people are spoiled today and they focus to much on physical things and to little on the important things like family

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