‘The Runaway Summer’ by Nina Bawden

My Review (5 stars out of 5)

While her parents are going through a divorce, young Mary is farmed out to relatives who live near the seaside. But Mary’s grandfather and his daughter (Aunt Alice), only serve to dampen the girl’s mood. Caught up in her own little world, Mary resorts to what she does best – making up stories. Transforming her relatives into the most detestable pair of grumps ever, Mary takes out her petulance on anyone and everyone, lying and spinning tall tales to anyone who’ll listen. So, when she meets Simon and his twin sisters on the beach, it takes a little while for them to become friends. However, seeing two strange men and a boy getting out of a boat at the shore, Mary cannot understand why the men leave the boy there all alone. The only thing she can do is to seek the help of her new friends.

First published in 1969, this is another delightful tale from Nina Bawden. The development of the characters, especially that of Mary, as the plot unfolds, is extremely well done and builds into a fascinating story about family, trust and childhood. Bawden’s use of language is highly appealing, creating beautiful descriptions of the landscape as well as brilliantly drawn characters. My only criticism is her overuse of exclamation marks! Far too many!

A delightful and heart-warming book.

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