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When We Were Warriors

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An irresistible return to World War Two for the Queen of Historical Fiction. A body washed up on the beach . . . Evacuation to an old house with forbidden rooms and dark secrets . . . An animal rescue service . . . Set in World War Two, Emma Carroll explores the resilience, resourcefulness and inventiveness of children when their lives fall to pieces. Introducing some compelli An irresistible return to World War Two for the Queen of Historical Fiction. A body washed up on the beach . . . Evacuation to an old house with forbidden rooms and dark secrets . . . An animal rescue service . . . Set in World War Two, Emma Carroll explores the resilience, resourcefulness and inventiveness of children when their lives fall to pieces. Introducing some compelling new characters, as well as revisiting some familiar settings, these adventures are sure to win over new readers, as well as fans of old favourites such as Letters from the Lighthouse and Frost Hollow Hall. 'It's impossible to stop reading.' The Times 'Carroll is a remarkable writer.' Daily Mail 'Compelling storytelling.' BookTrust 'Immediate and appealing.' Books for Keeps


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An irresistible return to World War Two for the Queen of Historical Fiction. A body washed up on the beach . . . Evacuation to an old house with forbidden rooms and dark secrets . . . An animal rescue service . . . Set in World War Two, Emma Carroll explores the resilience, resourcefulness and inventiveness of children when their lives fall to pieces. Introducing some compelli An irresistible return to World War Two for the Queen of Historical Fiction. A body washed up on the beach . . . Evacuation to an old house with forbidden rooms and dark secrets . . . An animal rescue service . . . Set in World War Two, Emma Carroll explores the resilience, resourcefulness and inventiveness of children when their lives fall to pieces. Introducing some compelling new characters, as well as revisiting some familiar settings, these adventures are sure to win over new readers, as well as fans of old favourites such as Letters from the Lighthouse and Frost Hollow Hall. 'It's impossible to stop reading.' The Times 'Carroll is a remarkable writer.' Daily Mail 'Compelling storytelling.' BookTrust 'Immediate and appealing.' Books for Keeps

30 review for When We Were Warriors

  1. 4 out of 5

    Diamond

    Fascinating as always))

  2. 4 out of 5

    Alex Baugh

    After reading Emma Carroll's WWII book Letters from the Lighthouse a while back, I knew I was going to have to go back for more. So I was pretty happy when I read about When We Were Warriors and ordered it from Book Depository immediately. This time, instead of a complete novel, Carroll has written three short stories, all set in the summer of 1942, all along the Devon coast, and connected to each other by an interesting thread. Story number 1 is called "The Night Visitors" and the main protagonis After reading Emma Carroll's WWII book Letters from the Lighthouse a while back, I knew I was going to have to go back for more. So I was pretty happy when I read about When We Were Warriors and ordered it from Book Depository immediately. This time, instead of a complete novel, Carroll has written three short stories, all set in the summer of 1942, all along the Devon coast, and connected to each other by an interesting thread. Story number 1 is called "The Night Visitors" and the main protagonist is a boy named Stan. Living in Bristol, Stan and his sisters are on their way to get some fish and chips for dinner when a bomb hits and changes their lives. With their house destroyed, and their mum hurt rather badly, Stan, older sister June, and younger sister Maggie are evacuated to the Somerset hills, to a large old supposedly haunted house called Frost Hollow Hall, joining other kids who have already been there for a while. No sooner are they told about the three places on the property that are off limits to all the evacuees, then June and Clive Spencer, a smirky troublemaker, come up with a game of dare - it's the boys against the girls, and whichever team nicks the most things from each forbidden areas is the winner. Just as the game takes off, American soldiers arrive when one of their drivers, Eddie Johnson, drives right off the road and into a ditch outside Frost Hollow Hall. Left there to take care of the vehicle, things suddenly take a very strange turn. The second story is called "Olive's Army" and takes place Budmouth Point, not far from Frost Hollow Hall. Londoners Olive and younger brother Cliff live with Ephraim Pengilly, the lighthouse keeper, while older sister Sukie and friend Esther, who had come to England on the Kindertransport, live with Queenie, the postmistress. Needless to say, Olive is quite shocked when Sukie announces that she is going to marry Ephraim, as soon as she asked him. But when a body washes up on the beach with identity papers claiming he is Ephraim Pengilly and that he is German, Sukie's fiancé is taken away to Plymouth for questioning - the day before their wedding. Enter the Americans - who decide that the papers the dead man is carrying are plans for the German invasion everyone in Britain has been expecting. Off they go, following the plans to stop the invasion and leaving one soldier behind to guard the dead body. Yep, none other than Eddie Johnson. But what happens when Olive figures out what the German's plan is really about? Can she convince everyone, including Eddie, of what she's worked out and stop the invasion? The third and final story is called "Operation Greyhound" and takes place in Plymouth, just up the coast from Budmouth lighthouse. Plymouth has already been nearly bombed out of existence, but when yet another air raid siren goes off, Velvet Jones heads to the shelter with her best friend Lynn. Luckily, their shelter warden, Mr. Perks, lets everyone bring their pets to the shelter, too. But on this night, they have a new warden, Mr. Jackson, and he is not letting pets into the shelter anymore. And now it's even more crowded that usual as people from Portland Place are sharing the shelter, thanks to bombing, including stuck up Mrs. Clements and son Robert. Velvet and Lynn take it upon themselves to find an alternative pet-friendly shelter, but on the first night, Velvet finds a man lying in the street as bombs begin to fall, and yep, it's Eddie Johnson, American soldier. After helping him, Velvet realizes that their alternative shelter isn't going to work out, and she and Lynn decide to find another solution. But when they discover their truth about Robert Clements's father and then he and his pregnant dog go missing, the girls make some surprising discoveries, because sometimes people just aren't who or what you think they are. When I first got When We Were Warriors, I was a little disappointed to see it was three stories instead of a novel, but no sooner did I begin reading, and I was totally hooked, reading it straight through. It was, simply said, unputdownable. And there were a lot of things I liked about this book. I loved that the stories are connected to each other by the presence of Eddie Johnson, an African American soldier on his own personal mission and whose life is ultimately changed. I also loved that so many characters were diverse. I had no idea how diverse small towns along the coast of England were at the time, but I somehow found it plausible. And I did discover that there apparently was some diversity in port cities, thanks to WWI (see Mixing It: Diversity in World War Two Britain by Wendy Webster, Oxford UP, 2018). Did you recognize Olive, Sukie and Cliff in the second story? That's because they are the same wonderful characters in Letters From the Lighthouse and they are every bit as appealing. Remember Frost Hollow Hall in the first story? Well, I didn't, but you can bet the book by the same name will be the next Emma Carroll novel I read. If you are looking for a great book that explores themes of family and friendship along with some mystery and adventure, look no further that When We Were Warriors for a wonderfully satisfying middle grade book. This book is recommended for readers age 9+ This book was purchased for my personal library

  3. 4 out of 5

    ZAINAB HOSEN

    One of the first books I’ve read by Emma Carroll, checking back I don’t know how I could have missed a wonder whilst book shopping. Thoroughly enjoyed the world war setting and it’s rippling storyline. Easy read with my 10 and 4 yr old.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steph

    Just brilliant. These 3 short stories made my heart so happy. It’s incredible that during times of UTTER warfare there’s light and hope. I love Eddie, so so much.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jae

    Three short stories using characters from her previous novels. I didn't like this as much as Letters from the Lighthouse, but that is a full-length novel which makes it's difficult to compare. Emma Carroll is a great children's author, her books being similar to the classic stories I read as a child. Three short stories using characters from her previous novels. I didn't like this as much as Letters from the Lighthouse, but that is a full-length novel which makes it's difficult to compare. Emma Carroll is a great children's author, her books being similar to the classic stories I read as a child.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Vonprice

    Fantastic collection of short stories set in the year 1942, featuring children whose lives are disrupted by bombing and evacuation during WWII. Absolutely perfectly pitched for the MG reader. You can read my full review here: http://vsviewfromthebookshelves.home.... Fantastic collection of short stories set in the year 1942, featuring children whose lives are disrupted by bombing and evacuation during WWII. Absolutely perfectly pitched for the MG reader. You can read my full review here: http://vsviewfromthebookshelves.home....

  7. 4 out of 5

    Poppy

    This book was amazing and had a satisfying sequel for Letters From The Lighthouse, a book I very much enjoyed. These stories were sweet, charming and enjoyable in many ways. Would recommend to wartime story lovers

  8. 4 out of 5

    Leo Margetts

    This amazing book is all about three children. The first child is called Ted and he goes to this place called Frost hollow hall and there he learns about this soldier called Ed and his connections to the glamorous place. The second child is called Olive and she manages to find out how the Germans are going to invade England and manages to stop them. The last but not least child is called Velvet and somehow she manages to find a safe place for the animals to stay during the air raids

  9. 4 out of 5

    Chelsea

    Emma Carroll can do no wrong in my eyes. Three brilliant short stories are told, with one interlinking character and tidbits from her other books make appearances. I do love when an author creates a book universe

  10. 5 out of 5

    Amy (Golden Books Girl)

    I`ve been a fan of Emma Carroll since not long after she was first published, so by this point I don`t need any more proof that she is an exceptional author. However, this book provided it anyway. It`s a book of three short stories about different children in World War Two- two of which revisit previous Emma Carroll settings and one that is entirely new. All of them are so readable and interesting that you could definitely read this without prior knowledge of Frost Hollow Hall and Letters to the I`ve been a fan of Emma Carroll since not long after she was first published, so by this point I don`t need any more proof that she is an exceptional author. However, this book provided it anyway. It`s a book of three short stories about different children in World War Two- two of which revisit previous Emma Carroll settings and one that is entirely new. All of them are so readable and interesting that you could definitely read this without prior knowledge of Frost Hollow Hall and Letters to the Lighthouse, but I would recommend reading them first anyway as they`re fabulous and also so you get the full impact of the stories, because I found returning to Frost Hollow Hall incredibly emotional (I literally started weeping the second it appeared on the page, and sobbed quite solidly for the rest of the story because of the way it linked to Frost Hollow Hall). The first story- which is the one that features Frost Hollow Hall- was my favourite for this reason and also because of the fact that Stan was my favourite of the three protagonists as his quiet strength was so lovely, but I absolutely loved both other stories and their characters Olive and Velvet too. Something I else I particularly loved was the clever way in which all three stories are linked, and the nods to the others in each one. This is phenomenal. 5/5

  11. 5 out of 5

    T

    Emma Carroll has a wonderful way with words. She has seamlessly combined three stories into one fantastic book. With one central character throughout, you can’t help but love Eddie. I bought this book as I had absolutely LOVED Letters from the Lighthouse, and seen this book continues where it left off. I was not at all disappointed in how the story continues.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Julie Bramhall

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Love the three short stories and their links to previous books, I just wanted more as I always do with all Emma Carroll's books. Very popular addition to my class bookshelf. Love the three short stories and their links to previous books, I just wanted more as I always do with all Emma Carroll's books. Very popular addition to my class bookshelf.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Hannah Shattock

    Three delightful short stories about the heroes within us in war torn England. In each story and ordinary child rose to the occasion and showed both strength and courage as adventure took hold.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Teri B

    The book consists of three short stories, The Night Visitors, Olive’s Army and Operation Greyhound. They all take place during the second World War. The three stories are linked by one of the characters showing up in all three of them. The first one is a ghost story that brings us back to Frost Hollow Hall with much older inhabitants now and a horde of children that have been evacuated from London after their street was bombarded. The story evolves around Stan who is the middle child with an olde The book consists of three short stories, The Night Visitors, Olive’s Army and Operation Greyhound. They all take place during the second World War. The three stories are linked by one of the characters showing up in all three of them. The first one is a ghost story that brings us back to Frost Hollow Hall with much older inhabitants now and a horde of children that have been evacuated from London after their street was bombarded. The story evolves around Stan who is the middle child with an older sister, June, who is rather bossy and Maggie, who is the youngest and has a special connection to dogs. They discover the inhabitants of Frost Hollow Hall, including ghosts as well as its surroundings, make friends with one specific GI and live through quite some scary moments. In the second story we move to the next town at the coast with a lighthouse involved. There we find ourselves in the middle of preparations for a war wedding when a German dead body washes up on the strand and provides quite some turbulences. But the children in the family stick together and sort things out, and possibly even prevent an invasion by German soldiers during the night. In the third story we meet Velvet Jones who has a big heart for animals and grows up amidst the air raids that are terrifying by themselves. When the air shelter ward forbids animals in the shelter, the children in the neighbourhood bound together and find ways to keep animals safe during air raids all the same. I loved all three stories. They all touch down on sibling relationships, rivalry, jealousy, friendship as well as looking out for each other and being there for one another. And dogs play a part in each of the stories, small or big. The book has also representation of diversity woven in and out of the stories very unobtrusively, but it is definitely there.

  15. 4 out of 5

    WhatBookNext .com

    Three short stories – two with familiar settings, and a brand new tale: A young boy and his sister are sent to Frost Hollow Hall as evacuees in WWII. A dangerous dare is set between the evacuees soon after their arrival, but there are ghosts about and a terrible tragedy just waiting to repeat itself. Happy in their new seaside town home in Devon, Olive and Cliff fish something out of the sea. Locals are alerted, fears grow quickly of an enemy invasion and suspicion falls quickly on their close fri Three short stories – two with familiar settings, and a brand new tale: A young boy and his sister are sent to Frost Hollow Hall as evacuees in WWII. A dangerous dare is set between the evacuees soon after their arrival, but there are ghosts about and a terrible tragedy just waiting to repeat itself. Happy in their new seaside town home in Devon, Olive and Cliff fish something out of the sea. Locals are alerted, fears grow quickly of an enemy invasion and suspicion falls quickly on their close friend and sister’s fiance. Is he a spy? (Letters from the Lighthouse) Air raid sirens upset both people and pets alike, and when a new shelter officer bans animals, their worried owners are desperate for a solution. They can’t leave their beloved animals to face the bombs alone. When their first plan goes awry, they quickly have to find another. But first they have to find a missing pet, a missing boy and help a wounded soldier. Emma Carroll fans will gobble up these historical short stories, and recognise familiar and favourite characters and settings. Would make great read aloud’s for WWII topic studies.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Pauline

    In my opinion UK author Emma Carroll is currently one of the best writers of historical fiction for children. She has an admirable skill of mixing adventure and English history, particularly the World War II era, to make it accessible to children. Her characters are creative and inventive, yet very recognisable. We loved that this is a collection of short stories that can be read as a standalone but will also have meaning for those who have read her earlier works as characters from those novels In my opinion UK author Emma Carroll is currently one of the best writers of historical fiction for children. She has an admirable skill of mixing adventure and English history, particularly the World War II era, to make it accessible to children. Her characters are creative and inventive, yet very recognisable. We loved that this is a collection of short stories that can be read as a standalone but will also have meaning for those who have read her earlier works as characters from those novels make an appearance. Set in 1942 the three novellas, with three different protagonists are linked through setting and the character of Eddie, the American GI stationed in the south-west coast of England. These stories will appeal to those readers who love tales of resilient and clever children battling and overcoming adversity in war time situations. Suitable for 9+

  17. 4 out of 5

    Katie

    This book is basically three stories with one character running through all three. I think with the first two stories it would be helpful to have read Frost Hollow Hall ( for the history and the characters) and Letters from the lighthouse (for the characters) but as I read these some time ago this collection of three stories was still easy to read and well thought out. This was a lovely read and I think Emma Carroll is a great children's author. This book is basically three stories with one character running through all three. I think with the first two stories it would be helpful to have read Frost Hollow Hall ( for the history and the characters) and Letters from the lighthouse (for the characters) but as I read these some time ago this collection of three stories was still easy to read and well thought out. This was a lovely read and I think Emma Carroll is a great children's author.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Stephen

    This is a set of three short stories set in 1942. the stories are interconnected but also can stand alone. A nice historical narrative that would make them perfect for key stage 2 children studying the war, and they would be enjoyable stories for the age group. I liked the stories, and think they were well written. Short stories are not my favourite form, although the interconnectedness was clever, providing an anchor. Good stuff - recommended to the age group.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Goldson

    Ah, well, there’s nothing to be said, apart from Emma Carroll really * is * the Queen of historical fiction. These three short stories are tied together with beautiful plotting and the lovely sense of verisimilitude about the war. The stories all involve young people who are courageous and kind. The book doesn’t shy away from difficult topics like death and cowardice too. Gorgeous, gorgeous writing.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Kirsty

    Liked the book, not read frost hollow hall before but had read letters from the lighthouse. Not that you need to have read the books to like this one. I wasn't aware it was going to be 3 short stories but they are all different stories about the war. I really liked the last one about the pets during air raid shelters. Liked the book, not read frost hollow hall before but had read letters from the lighthouse. Not that you need to have read the books to like this one. I wasn't aware it was going to be 3 short stories but they are all different stories about the war. I really liked the last one about the pets during air raid shelters.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Annie Hamblin

    I really enjoyed this one. It’s a kids book but very readable from an adult perspective. I liked the interconnection of the three stories and, though it deals with some tough issues- evacuation, invasion, bombing- it was compelling without being terrifying. I’m hoping the kids will read it now I have!

  22. 4 out of 5

    stardust_tales

    My daughter was lucky enough to meet Emma Carrol in school last week so I decided to read this book before giving it to her. It is a beautiful , readable and accessible portrait of England during WWII, perfect for an introduction to such a complex era for the young readers.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jeremy Wells

    Emma Carroll is excellent. This book is actually 3 wonderfully inter-connected stories of different children’s adventures during the Second World War in England, read aloud to my 10yo daughter and enjoyed by us both.

  24. 4 out of 5

    David Monroe

    Good book This book was three different stories but one main character that interacted with each story. An interesting read and easy to follow.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Liz Alston

    Loved the thread that connected all 3 stories together and the links made to Letters from the Lighthouse and Frost Hollow Hall.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Izzles25

    I loved this! Just brilliant and ace. Characters are wonderfully written and their stories are just perfect.

  27. 5 out of 5

    sparkle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I loved how this book has three different stories in it and they are all linked. I especially like how they all have Eddie the soldier in it. My favourite is probably olives army.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Kirsten Fraser

    Superb set of short stories focused on world war 2. Loved the links between these and her previous books Frost Hollow Hall and Letters From a Lighthouse.

  29. 5 out of 5

    lydia | theredberetreader

    Great read 😀

  30. 4 out of 5

    Elaine

    Hadn’t realised it was short stories and not a novel, so was quite disappointed. However, I’m sure the target age group will thoroughly enjoy it.

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