Out of the Black by Robert Barnard

   The time is 1941. A small boy is standing on the platform at Yeasdon station in Gloucestershire, a little suitcase in his hand. Inside is a teddy Bear, a few bits of clothing, and not much more. Conspicuously  missing is any identification.
   He says he’s Simon Thorn, but the name appears n no list of evacuated children. Twenty-One children-plus Simon-have come from London to live with rural families far from the London bombing.
   But who is Simon and why do the officials have no record of him? They can’t send him back to London, so they put him up temporarily with Dot and Tom Cutheridge, a kindly couple who have always waned a child. and then the search begins.
   Simon says he lived on Sparrow Street with his mummy, grandma, and auntie. but when the officials visit Sparrow Street they find only three houses, one of them bombed out. And nobody named Thorn lives in the other two. There’s no report of a missing child, there’s no school record, nothing. It’s as if little Simon never existed before he arrived at Yeasdon station.
   Has he really forgotten who he is, or is he lying? The Cutheridges fear the truth whenthey hear him cry out in his sleep: ‘Stop it-please stop it. Don’t hit her! Don’t kill her!’
  Somewhere, either in his conscious or his subconscious, Simon hides a terrible secret. With consummate skill, Robert Barnard removes the shadows until we discover, with the adult Simon, the shocking Truth.
                                                                                ~from book jacket

This is my third Barnard book and I have to agree with Kelly over at Book Dirt that I like this one best!  The horror of the war and just the thought of sending your child off to live with strangers to protect them is unthinkable, but how Simon gets there is unbelievable. Simon grows up healthy and happy  and while in London for a new job happens past something that looks very familiar to him and sets him on a search for his roots and his ‘real’ family. This book is full of despicable people and I liked the little twist at the end. Read it, you’ll love Simon.

Peggy Ann

11 thoughts on “Out of the Black by Robert Barnard

  1. This is the Barnard book I'm 3/4 of the way through and was planning on reviewing for the December single author Friday Forgotten Books Robert Bernard day. Rats. I'll finish it, of course, but now I'll need to read another for that FFB post.


  2. Peggy, I did finish OUT OF THE BLACKOUT and I'm afraid I found it to be bleak. The writing is very good indeed, but there weren't any characters in the London scenes that I cared about or liked. I'm glad I read the book, but it's not one I'd recommend. It's interesting how people seem to either like it very much or not at all. I ended up reading THE CASE OF THE MISSING BRONTE which I did enjoy.


  3. Sorry you didn't like it Richard. Your right there weren't many 'nice' people in it and it was quite bleak. I am not a real Barnard fan at any rate. I'm off to read your review on The Case of the Missing Bronte now! Thanks for stopping back with the update.


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