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Embers in the London Sky

Embers in the London Sky, February 2024
by Sarah Sundin

Revell
400 pages
ISBN: 0800741854
EAN: 9780800741853
Kindle: B0C9S42JLP
Paperback / e-Book / audiobook
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"A mother searches for her child during the Blitz"

Fresh Fiction Review

Embers in the London Sky
Sarah Sundin

Reviewed by Clare O'Beara
Posted June 16, 2024

Women's Fiction Historical

Beginning in the Netherlands in 1940, this powerful novel of love and loss features Aleida Martens, a young Dutch woman educated in England. Initially, she is intending to leave her controlling husband, taking their small child; however, within a couple of pages, the family is fleeing the Nazis. EMBERS IN THE LONDON SKY continues in the besieged British capital where Aleida, widowed, is searching for her child Theo. While Aleida doesn’t mourn her husband Sebastian, killed in a bombing raid, she is parted from Theo on her way to London and never stops searching for him. Londoners were sending children to the countryside, and Theo may have joined these evacuees. He’s only three, doesn’t speak English, and has no proof of identity. An excellent feature is the close look at journalism during the Blitz. BBC radio correspondent Hugh Collingwood reports on the nightly bombings from rooftops and streets, from shelters and gunnery positions. He is ashamed of the asthma which stops him from being called up, and rails against massive censorship. He has to report that streets were lightly bombed and not many people were harmed when he is seeing the opposite. American, French and female journalists share his table in the pub, and he gives us a look at Broadcasting House. Hugh meets Aleida, who is volunteering as a Warden, and recognises that she has a story to tell.  On top of all this, there’s a murder mystery. And a cat with a considerable personality. Historical details are vivid, personalities strong, and attitudes often bitter. This contains two main themes in one – a mother searching for her child, and a broadcaster with a career that runs counter to the Establishment in more ways than one. I found EMBERS IN THE LONDON SKY well worth reading. The romance is a clean read but due to the suspenseful events, I recommend the tale to adults or older teens. This is my first book by Sarah Sundin, who lives in California and prefers to write about the WW2 era, and it won’t be the last. 

Learn more about Embers in the London Sky

SUMMARY

As the German army invades the Netherlands in 1940, Aleida van der Zee Martens escapes to London to wait out the Occupation. Separated from her three-year-old son, Theo, in the process, the young widow desperately searches for her little boy even as she works for an agency responsible for evacuating children to the countryside.

When German bombs set London ablaze, BBC radio correspondent Hugh Collingwood reports on the Blitz, eager to boost morale while walking the fine line between truth and censorship. But the Germans are not the only ones Londoners have to fear as a series of murders flame up amid the ashes.

The deaths hit close to home for Hugh, and Aleida needs his help to locate her missing son. As they work together, they grow closer and closer, both to each other and the answers they seek. But with bombs falling and continued killings, they may be running out of time.


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