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Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘Tuppence To Spend’ by Lilian Harry
Book Beginnings / First Lines



Cover Image Of The Book 'Tuppence To Spend' By Author Lilian HarryCHAPTER ONE

‘They’re sending you all away?’ Nora Hodges said, staring at the letter in her hand. ‘They’re sending all you kiddies out of Portsmouth to the country – this Friday? But why? I thought they were still trying to make Hitler stop it – I thought they didn’t want there to be a war’

It was almost the end of August. Sammy had been given the letter at school and had almost forgotten about it, but his teacher had said that the letters must be given to the children’s mothers the minute they got home, so he fished it out of his pocket and handed it over, grubby, crumpled and sticky from a half-sucked bull’s-eye Tim Budd had given him in class. He pulled the sweet off the letter and started to pick off the fluff.

At first Nora had stared at the envelope, her heart sinking. Letters from school usually meant trouble – she’d had plenty of that sort from the school while Gordon was there. Or, more often, not there. Playing truant – being cheeky – tormenting little girls by sticking their pigtails into inkwells – and, worse, pinching things from the cloakroom. Gordon was always in trouble of some sort. Sammy hadn’t ever got into that sort of trouble before, but then he was only seven – there was plenty of time for him to follow in his brother’s footsteps.

‘What is it?’ she said. ‘What’ve you done?’

Sammy had picked off most of the fluff and popped the bull’s-eye into his mouth. He sat down on the floor andbegan to stroke the tabby cat curled up on the mat. ‘I haven’t done nothing. It’s about the war. We all got one. We’re being sent away.’


Cover Image Of The Book 'Tuppence To Spend' By Author Lilian HarryDan Hodges is devastated when his wife Nora dies during the early days of the war.

Working long hours in a Portsmouth shipyard, how is he to look after his two sons, Gordon and Sammy? Gordon is sent to an approved school, which leaves young Sammy alone in the house, until neighbours in April Grove intervene and Sammy is evacuated to a village near Southampton.

Ruth Purslow, a young childless widow, takes him in, her compassion aroused by his plight. Slowly, as they grow closer, Ruth begins to dread the time when Sammy must return to Portsmouth.

But Dan, enduring the struggle of a man living alone in a blitzed city, begins to realize that Sammy means far more to him than he ever thought. He’s determined to bring Sammy home.



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I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

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  • I’ve been seeing Lilian Harry’s books around for years and never read one. I’ve no idea why. But this sounds rather good. Do you read a lot by this author, Yvonne?

    Cooler weather has arrived. Yippeee! Off to Cardiff for a few days on Sunday. Have a lovely weekend.

    • If you check out Lilian’s ‘Fantastic Fiction’ page, you will realise just how prolific a writer she is and to be honest, I stand no chance of keeping up with all her books, given how slowly I seem to be reading these days.


      I have dipped in and out of several of the different series, as all the books I have tried so far, have worked well as stand alone stories too, although I have never checked out any of the writing she does under her two pseudonyms.

      I think the cooler weather has only shown its face for the weekend (typical UK Bank Holiday style!) and next week looks set fair again, although not quite as hot thank goodness. We are out on Saturday for the day, but probably won’t venture too far for the rest of the weekend. Have a lovely time in Cardiff, is this just a sightseeing / shopping expedition, or have you a specific event planned? 🙂

      • Gosh, I had no idea that the author also wrote under pseudonyms. She is prolific!

        We’re travelling up on Sunday which is meant to be wet and then not too bad for the following week. Which is fine as long as it’s cool not hot. We’re taking our grand-daughter up for a few days sight-seeing. She starts at Swansea uni in September so we thought we’d show her the area, spend a day in Swansea, show her the Gower, that sort of thing. Looking forward to it.

        • I’m not to keen on visiting cities these days, although if your grand-daughter is going to be spending three years in Swansea, then she really should get a feel for the place and you sound like just the people to help her do that.

          The Gower and further on round the coast to Tenby is all amazing scenery and beautiful beaches, especially Rhossili and Bracelet Bay and if GD is there, you will have every excuse to visit regularly!

          The weather certainly looks better for next week, than the rain which is pouring down this Friday night, so have a brilliant time 🙂

          • We’re not really city people either but Cardiff is different somehow, smaller and friendly. Plus we stay on the outskirts and don’t always go into Cardiff. It’s a perfect situation for the Brecon Beacons or popping over to the Gower. We’ve had some lovely countryside days out from there.

            Thank you, it looks like it will be dry and cool.

  • This looks like it might be fairly good. I’ve read several novels that deal with children being sent to the country during the war and not always with happy results. Interesting, too, that part of this is from the man’s point of view.

    I hope you’ll feature more from it later.

    • I guess that Dan is devastated by his wife’s death during the war and so soon after Sammy is evacuated, that he might be blaming the boy in some strange thought process, for Nora dying.

      Dan’s work in the shipyard would have qualified as a ‘Reserved Occupation’, which meant he wouldn’t have been called upon to fight at the front, so I assume that over time, he would be regretting his thoughts about Sammy, missing him and wanting to give him a home, albeit one without his mother.

      When I publish my review, you will see just how close to home the storyline of this book is and the often terrible and terrifying consequences of evacuation, albeit in the name of safety and security.

      Thanks for taking the time to comment, I always appreciate your visits 🙂

    • You are one of the few who like this particular cover art, it is generally perceived as a little old fashioned. However, as the book is also a trifle elderly and has been sat on my shelf for many years, I guess things have moved on at a pace.

      The story is good as an easy to read piece of social history from our recent past and as such, the cover art works rather well and is totally in keeping.

      Thanks for visiting, I always appreciate your comments 🙂

    • The separating of families during the Second World War, when children were evacuated from major cities and target coastal towns, to tempoarary places of safety, was indeed sad and emotional in almost all cases.

      This story is set partly in Portsmouth, a naval port, which was a prime bombing target for enemy forces and many hundreds of children were moved to places of safety further inland, where families were granted visiting days a couple of times a year.

      These fostering arrangements went on for years in many cases, before children who could barely remember home, were reunited with friends and family they could no longer relate to.

      I can’t even imagine what that must have been like and the long-term effects it must have had on many a young mind!

      Thanks for stopping by and have a good weekend 🙂

    • There were eight books in this particular series, all working well as stand alone stories, which began in 1994 and concluded in 2005, with ‘Tuppence To Spend’ being the fifth book, published in 2003.

      I must admit that cover art has certainly moved on apace over the course of the last couple of decades and the twelve books in Lilian’s later ‘Burracombe Village’ series, are much more ‘natural’ in appearance.

      I don’t generally tend to choose a book for its cover alone, but I do agree that it forms an important part of the overall package.

      I have quite a few books from this era sat on my many bookshelves, still waiting to be read, so I have to look past the cover art when I choose to read something from my backlog.

      Happy Reading 🙂

    • I am very well thanks – or at least I was until my advancing years caught up with me once again!

      I really didn’t think that getting to the big 60 was going to bother me and generally it doesn’t.

      However, it is only when I realise that so many of my friends and colleagues, now look upon me as old enough to be their mother, or even worse, older than their mother, that the doubt sets in, asI really DON’T feel that old and over the hill!

      Seriously, it is what it is and doesn’t worry me in the slightest, it is just good sometimes to be able to make folks think they have upset or offended me somehow 🙂 🙂

      I think your mother would probably enjoy this one 🙂

  • This looks like an older book, but perhaps it is supposed to more reflect the era of the story. I typically like WWII series, but the premise doesn’t really capture my interest. See what I’m featuring at Girl Who Reads

    • You are correct in your assumption that this is indeed an older book, as I am desperately trying to clear some of my physical bookshelves, of which there are many in just about every room of the house, so that we can claim back some space and order.

      I am also really only interested in WWII books, when they feature the social history and personal involvement, of any given aspect of the conflict. The technical and mechanical nuts and bolts of the conflict, I am quite happy to leave to the confirmed world historians, to pour over and dissect. This book suits my taste quite well in that respect!

      Thanks for stopping by and Happy Reading 🙂

Written by Yvonne