The War Child by Renita D’Silva

Today Mandie is joining the tour for The War Child, the brand new novel from Renita D’Silva. Thanks to publisher Bookouture who provided a copy of the book for review and for the tour invite. Here’s what it’s all about:

Source: Netgalley
Release Date: 24 August 2021
Publisher: Bookouture

About the Book

Everything will change, my love, she whispers to her only baby. I will make sure you are protected, looked after, loved. I cannot let history repeat itself. She commits his smell, the feel of him to memory, the perfect, anchoring weight of him in her arms.Kissing him one last time, she lets him go. And with him go the pieces of her shattered heart.

London, 1939. Orphan Clara Knight is haunted by childhood memories of her house being bombed and fire raining from the sky – she was miraculously pulled from the rubble, finding herself all alone. Determined to make a difference with her life, she has found solace in nursing and helping others.

When the storm clouds of war return and a tragically injured soldier arrives at the hospital, Clara is instantly drawn to him and the stories he shares. AnandGoel, with his warm, dark eyes and kind smile, feels like the home she has been searching for. When Clara falls pregnant, the growing life inside her is a glimmer of hope: she will finally have a family of her own again.

But when Anand reveals a shocking secret, Clara’s little family falls apart, and she is left alone with her baby in a city she no longer recognises.

London in the Blitz is a dangerous place. When Clara is offered the chance to give her son a better life, she knows she should take it, but it will mean sending him far away. She knows better than anyone how hard it is to grow up without a mother’s love, but if he could be safe, and happy, isn’t it a risk worth taking?

To save her son, can Clara make the impossible choice to let him go? And will she ever find him again in this war-torn world on fire?

An unforgettable and heart-breaking novel about the powerful bond between a mother and her child and a betrayal that echoes across generations. Anyone who loves Orphan Train, Before We Were Yours and Shirley Dickson will find The War Child impossible to put down.

Mandie’s Thoughts

Clara Knight has already lost her brother and her father so when she finds herself being pulled from the rubble of her home, the only survivor she finds herself shipped off to an aunt she barely remembers. Made to pay her way she is soon employed at the local hospital as a nurse where she meets Anand Goel, an Indian casualty of the war due to an administration error. As no one else is willing to nurse him Clara takes on this responsibility and without realising it at the time her life will never be the same again.

When she is given the chance to travel to India and become the family nurse Clara jumps at the chance and finds herself in the company of Anand again who is travelling as the doctor to a Maharaja. Over time she develops feelings for Anand but when they both betray his wife and her friend, Clara returns to England pregnant to bring up her son alone. As the war gets worse and Clara is faced with prejudices she makes the ultimate sacrifice to secure his safety.

The War Child will certainly tug at even the most hardened heart strings as you follow Clara and all that she has to deal with in her life. Due to circumstance, she has suffered so much loss in a short time that you can’t help but understand her need to grasp every opportunity to try to find happiness and that sense of family that has been taken away from her. So often she is unsure of herself yet when needed she finds a determination and resilience that sees her through the hardships of war with her ultimate sacrifice made for her son. Although she is not solely to blame for the situation she finds herself in there are times that I struggled to sympathise with her but as she faced the harsh truth of her actions it was hard not to feel sorry for her.

Throughout the book there is the side story of Indira a driven female executive in a male dominated field and although you know these two women are linked it is not evident exactly how until near the end. As the connection is revealed you can see just how they are so similar in their determination to succeed, sometimes at the expense of those closest to them. As she learns of her family’s past Indira hopes it is not to late to re establish those connections and find what is truly important.

Renita D’Silva has once again given her readers a colourful journey to India with her writing bringing forth all the sights, smells and images of a time gone steeped with family and traditions and the harsh realities of war that will draw you in and keep you gripped to the end.

About the Author

Renita D’Silva loves stories, both reading and creating them. Her short stories have been published in ‘The View from Here’, ‘Bartleby Snopes’, ‘this zine’, ‘Platinum Page’, ‘Paragraph Planet’ among others and have been nominated for the ‘Pushcart’ prize and the ‘Best of the Net’ anthology. She is the author of ‘Monsoon Memories’,’The Forgotten Daughter’, ‘The Stolen Girl’, ‘A Sister’s Promise’, ‘A Mother’s Secret’, ‘A Daughter’s Courage’, ‘Beneath An Indian Sky’, ‘The Girl In The Painting’.

Tania Rodrigues is a London based actress and voice artist. She trained at The Drama Studio in London, having completed a BA Hons degree in English and Drama. She has always had a passion for reading, and has narrated many award-winning audiobooks including Booker Prize Winner The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai and 2011 Waterstone Prize Winner Artichoke Hearts by Sita Bramachari.

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