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on 30 October 2000
The story begins during the Second World War when Darcy, a young girl of eleven, moves with her parents to a new town in Canada. Darcy is a very shy and quiet girl who confides in her Shirley Temple doll. At first, after moving house, Darcy is very lonely until when in town, she is approached by another girl, Kathleen Mary, who introduces herself. Although the two girls are very different from each other they become good friends and have many adventures together. During this time Darcy's father joins the army and leaves for Europe.
Just when Darcy is beginning to discover how exciting life can be Kathleen Mary's family leave town. Darcy has to cope with many set backs, especially when soon afterwards her father is reported missing in action. During these difficult times Darcy discovers a lot about religion, culture and happiness. Although Darcy herself is a Protestant, attending a Unitarian church, her friend, Kathleen Mary, introduces her to many of the aspects of the Catholic faith. This knowledge is called upon when Darcy is faced by very difficult circumstances.
Although the story is very convincing I personally did not enjoy it since the story line does not appeal to me; I prefer to read adventure based fiction and stories about nature. To me the book was lacking in interest up until the last chapter when Darcy is given some unexpected news. I can recommend the book to others who enjoy similar story lines set during the war years. The author has put in a lot of effort to make the characters appear true to life and it is not difficult to imagine such events having taken place. All the characters are well described and their individual feelings come over well. At every stage both girls deal with their own particular problems in an appropriate way. It is only on the last few pages that the significance of the bells in the title of the book becomes apparent.
By Bridget Fleming (Age 11)
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