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Little Exiles Paperback – 2 Jan 2014


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Product details

  • Paperback: 426 pages
  • Publisher: The Borough Press (2 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007481713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007481712
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.7 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (29 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 776,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Dinsdale was born in 1981 in North Yorkshire and currently lives in York. His novels LITTLE EXILES (2013) and GINGERBREAD (2014) are published by Harper Collins, and he blogs at: www.robertdinsdale.com

Product Description

Review

‘A superb novel’ DAILY MAIL

‘A heartbreaking story, very powerfully dramatised’ THE TIMES

‘LITTLE EXILES … it's knockout – Robert has his own unique voice and his own angle on an extraordinary period of history. It's just beautifully written and told with such emotional precision, with a character in Jon Heather who is completely beguiling and so worth fighting for. I really, really loved it' Jim Loach, Director of Oranges & Sunshine

‘Contemporary fiction doesn’t get much better than this. Little Exiles is the best kind of book… the plot is so good and so gripping in this superlative tale that putting down the book is almost a physical impossibility… Little Exiles is an exquisitely crafted must-read’
IN DAILY

About the Author

Robert Dinsdale lives in London and is working on his next novel.


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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Totnes Nigel on 18 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Deeply moving and hard to read at times this book tells the stories of George, Peter and Jon Heather who were all sent to Australia after the Second World War by the "men in black" at the Mission. They are the other children were mostly told that they were orphans and were going to Australia to start a new and better life. Badly treated and often scared it was not something most of us would look forward to.

This is a powerfully written attempt to catch a feel of what it must have been like for those who were actually sent to Australia over many years in much the same way. The story of the Mission, staff and children, both in England and in Australia, are well covered as is the lives that come after the time at the Mission. Jon Heather is the central character in this however there are rich stories from those around him from time to time. I found the first part of the book gripping and the last part simply and deeply moving. Maybe that quality was not sustained throughout but it is not a book I will forget in a hurry. Anyone who wants a salutary lesson in how good intentions may be corrupted or simply not work out might fine some thought provoking material in this. A "bastard good" book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tommy Dooley TOP 100 REVIEWER on 23 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This tells in fiction of the many children who were transported to Australia in the period before and after World War II. These children were often told that their parents were dead and more shamefully the parents would be told that their children had died, that is if they enquired after them. The main character is nine year old Jon Heather. After his dad is killed fighting for King and Country during World War II, his mother finds it hard to cope and has to hand him over to `The Children's' Crusade'. This is a Christian Brothers type organisation who takes children to the far flung corners of Empire to bolster the colonies.

Jon ends up in Australia in the back end of beyond with virtually nothing except memories of a mother whom he knows loves him and twin sisters he is sure he will never forget. He is desperate to remain English and resists all attempts at Australiafication. He does make friends with George who has a friend in the slightly older Peter and the three form a bond that will become hard to break, but Leeds is a long way from Australia and as the months turn into years all Jon can think of is that Northern town he once called home.

This is one of those books I did not want to finish, Robert Dinsdale has an accessible style and weaves the story with the right amount of tension and suffering mixed in with the few good times that Jon and his friends manage to encounter. So few are they in fact they must seem like oases of joy for them in a desert of suffering to get by.

This is fiction but based on actual events which still have the power to move me even after knowing about it for so many years.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Denise4891 TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 11 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This is the story of three young boys from a Leeds children's home who are `rescued' by The Children's Crusade, ostensibly taking them away from a life of poverty and crime to breath in the fresh air and sunshine of Australia where they were needed to work on farms or in domestic servitude. Although it's a work of fiction, the story is based on fact - it's thought that up to 150,000 British children were sent to colonies overseas from the 19th century right up to 1967 when the church-run programmes ended.

The beginning of the book is set just after WW2 when many fathers did not make it home to see their children and mothers were struggling to cope. The boys, Jon, Peter and George, are told by the staff who run the Crusade, the sinister `Men in Black', that their parents are dead and have entrusted them to the Crusade to ensure that they have a better life. When they reach the Mission in Australia conditions are harsh and the punishment for even minor transgressions harsher still.

The story follows the boys as they grow into men, with many scars and varying degrees of damage, and not all the decisions they make are predictable or understandable. It's a sad and poignant read, particularly when the boys are small but also towards the end, as Jon and George in particular come to terms with their lives and try to salvage some sort of meaning. It's an important book but at times not an easy one to read; I found my attention wandering bit in the middle, but that was more than made up for by the closing chapters which are very moving.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Amazoniac TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This book is set just after WWII in Leeds, when some fathers were coming home, but many were not. This is the case for young Jon, who is handed over to an orphanage when his mother declines due to ill health and grief. Promised that his mother will return for him in three months, Jon is suddenly taken, along with many other boys, on a six week boat crossing to Australia.

Before I started this book I had never heard of the forced migration of children to Australia that took place from the 1900's right through to the 1960's. This book is a great introduction to the subject as it explains the horrible process the boys (and many girls) went through in order to start a `new life.'

The characters and relationships are well formed and believable, and you really get a sense of the damage caused, as the boys become adults and subsequently have to deal with the consequences of years of abuse. Each boy tries to come to terms with his broken life and find `home' in a different way.
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