A Home in the Country

Sheelagh Mawe


Format: Hardback
ISBN: 9780719809835.
Categories: , .
Publication Date: 30 August 2013


During the Second World War, some 3 million people were evacuated from British towns and cities due to the danger of German air attacks. Most evacuees were children; many were sent to the countryside but some were sent to Canada, America, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. (Future stars Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Caine were among them!) Two of these children were ‘Sarah’ (the author), aged five, and her brother ‘James’, aged six, who were placed on a ship bound for New York City where they would be assigned to a foster home. It was their parents’ hope that the children would find themselves in vastly improved circumstances – ‘in a lovely home in the country, but with no nasty old bombs to worry about, darlings, and lots of lovely things to eat.’ But awaiting Sarah and James were physical and psychological abuse and deprivation at the hands of a depraved foster mother in rural Maryland. Alongside four orphan children they would learn farm life the hard way as their foster mother’s savage rages increased – reaching fever pitch with the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. A testimony to the resilience of the human spirit and the utter ingenuity of childhood, this heartbreaking tale explores the darker side of the British evacuation during the Second World War and is a testament to youthful resourcefulness and the will to survive.