After a somewhat trying day at work, I needed a soothing break. After sawing some kindling in seasonally appropriate way (storm's a coming, and we were running low on the small stuff), I picked up almost at random a small paperback that has been on one of the several downstairs piles for ages--Long Way Home, by Michael Morpugo (of War Horse fame). It was rather nice to read a book that I didn't feel any obligation to review, and just the pleasing escape I was in the mood for. (Note--the cover of my copy has smiling children haying in the sun, not a dark and ominous storm).
12 year old George has been sent out to a number of foster families, but always ended up back at the children's Home. He doesn't expect this summer, spent on a farm out in the middle of the English countryside, to be any different--awkward social interactions, uncomfortablness becoming intolerableness, then running away back to the Home.
Tom wasn't looking forward to having George either. He was tired of his family fostering new kids every summer, making trouble and extra work. But when George arrives, and sets to work on the farm with a will, Tom's opinion begins to change rapidly. His little sister, Storme (her name was the only thing I found jarring in the book) took to George from the start, and George begins to feel at home. Everything seemed to promise that the summer would be a good one....
Then an unlucky chance destroyed all hope of that. George was forced to leave the farm...and the one foster family with whom he would have been willing to stay.
Nice family, nice farm, nice story. It was just the sort of soothing quick (only 116 pages) comfort read I wanted (I didn't even have to look at the end to be sure it would all work out just fine). Lots of good details, making the pictures of the farm and the countryside clear in my mind, lots of interesting bits of characterization, building clear pictures of the people too! If you like orphan-on-English-farm stories with happy endings, you will probably like this too.
(uh, having typed that, I can't think of any others, except a few WW II evacuation stories, which I don't count as comfort reading. Any recommendations????)
Long Way Home was published back in 1975, but didn't feel dated to me (then again, I don't have a cell phone, and (mostly) heat my house with a wood burning stove). This is my second Michael Morpurgo book (the other being The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips, which I also found to be a nice comfort read!). I am wary of War Horse, but browsing around his extensive back list I found one which looks good: Dear Olly, which I think will be my next one of his. Anyone read it?