Book Review- Our Castle by the Sea by Lucy Strange
Our castle by the sea by Lucy Strange is about Pet whose life changes as England goes into the war. England is at war. Growing up in a lighthouse, twelve-year-old Pet’s life has been one of those storms, secret tunnels, and stories about sea monsters. But now the clifftops are a terrifying battleground, and her family is torn apart. This is the story of a girl who freezes with fear at the enemy planes ripping through the skies overhead. A girl who is somehow destined to become part of the strange legend of the daughters of stone…
Pet lives in a lighthouse with her German mother and English father and her older sister, Magda. She grew up on stories about the daughters of stone. In which four daughters wait for their fathers to come home from war, in exchange for their safe return the daughter’s souls are taken away and they are turned to stones. The same stones which stand outside Pet’s lighthouse.
Now that the war is on the horizon, the sister’s German heritage becomes a talking point at school. The government check all German citizens to decide whether they are a risk to security. Their mother goes through the same process and everybody thinks it will be a normal procedure.
However, Pet’s mother is accused of intercepting some papers which were on their way out of the country. Pet and Magda are determined to prove their mother’s innocence. From then their world is ripped apart from friends and foes.
Our Castle by the Sea is a murder mystery on its own. When I first read the book, I thought there was some actual mystery, for example, something being stolen and Pet need to find it. However, when I progressed, I realized that although this may not have any criminals, it is still a mystery. This story is full of twists and turns and just when I expected it to have a happy ending it seems to surprise me. I read this book while I was learning about the world war I school, so it really helped grab the concept and what it was like at the time.
I love the way Lucy Strange has described the cliff tops and the legend of the Daughters of Stone. I can understand that the world war was a sad time where trust could be your best friend or number one enemy. Pet has to go through so much discovery, where her normal life is left behind and changed. Coming from a different background from both parents, she is torn on her decisions. I have absolutely enjoyed this book as it is not often that you get to read such type of mystery novels!
“Did she know something we didn’t know?”
Pet is a very determined young heroine who is a great role model for other young girls. She and her sister are put through a lot of self-doubt throughout the story. And it is evident that they are unsure how to react when they find out that the people they trust and hold closest to their heart are the very ones to surprise them both positively and negatively. The title of this book very interesting as it compares it to a castle.
Which is usually secure, stable and has weapons which anticipate the enemy’s every move. In contrast, Pet is not feeling very secure by at the start of the book and she is very scared of the enemy planes, she is also unprepared for what will happen in the book.
It also links with the story claiming that it is a castle which will help Britain against the bombing and German attacks. This book is for is recommended for readers between the ages of 11 and 15. Our Castle by the Sea is war, historical fiction, mystery, fiction and children’s.
About the Author
Lucy Strange is a bestselling author and former actor and singer. She has won several awards for the three-book she has written which are, The Ghost of Gloss water, The Secret of Nightingale Wood and Our Castle by the Sea.
The awards she has one so far include 2014 Montegrappa First Fiction Prize, Waterstones Book of the Month, Number 10 in the Top 50 Books of 2016, Amazon’s list of the Best Children’s Books of the Year, independent Booksellers’ Children’s Book of the Month, nominated for the Carnegie Medal and shortlisted for the Waterstones Book Prize 2020. She is known for writing about Folklore and fairy tales, combining it with historical settings.
If you liked this book, then similar books include:
- The Skylarks War by Hilary McKay
- The Secret of Nightingale Wood by Lucy Strange.
- The Girl who Speaks bear by Sophie Anderson
- The Dragonfly Pool by Eva Ibbotson.
- The Star of Kazan by Eva Ibbotson
I would recommend this book, to readers between the ages of 10 and 14. This book is centred around war and is an interesting read for children of that age. I personally found that reading this book was quite informative as it comes from the historical fiction genre.