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Sarah – Twice Removed

We reprint here, part of Bronwyn Pryde’s review [June 2008] of Sarah – Twice Removed by Iris Coussens-White, published in 2007 by Trafford Publishing, £9.75. 
Iris Coussens-White was born in Hastings and was ten years old when World War II was declared. This book is a story based on the true events surrounding her double evacuation and those times in between, covering the entire period of the war. The author casts herself as Sarah and Hastings is renamed ‘Pebblestone’. The story is a vivid account of a country at war but also a tale of a girl growing from a child into a young woman at the same time. A picture of Britain at war painted through the eyes of the young Sarah is recognisable and authentic. Sarah does not like the words ‘evacuation’ and ‘evacuee’ and uses ‘removed from danger’ instead, hence the title of the book. The story conveys a level of excitement throughout and has a tone of discovery and even adventure, sometimes recalling the style of Enid Blyton, as Sarah is twice ‘removed from danger’. There are some genuinely moving moments and also some laugh-out-loud moments as Sarah struggles through the privations of war, leaving school at 14 and finding work in a shop and later a hotel. She also learns to deal with boys and their advances as she grows older. She comes across as level-headed and mature for her years and ultimately very likeable.                           Bronwyn Pryde

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