I received an advanced review copy of this novel from the publisher through TLC Book Tours.
This is the heartwarming tale of two lonely people that find each other amidst the turmoil of World War II in London. Noel is an orphan living with his godmother when the novel opens and, although she is a tough old woman and a former suffragette, dementia is taking its toll on her health. Due to her increasing confusion, she walks out of her home at night and dies in a sand pit. Noel is then left with some of his godmother’s distant relatives who really don’t care to have the ten-year-old boy around.
When children are evacuated from London, Noel is placed with a woman named Vee who has an interesting and sad story of her own. Vee got pregnant when she was seventeen, only to be abandoned by her lover. Vee has raised her son as a single parent, not an easy thing to do in 1940’s London, and she also cares for her mute mother. Vee is always trying some small scan to bring in money and put food on the table for her son and mother. When she hears that she will be given a stipend for taking in Noel as an evacuee, she decides that any small inconvenience is worth the extra income.
The strength of this book lies in the development of the relationship between Vee and Noel. Noel has pretty much been abandoned and is alone in the world. At the same time, Vee”s mother remarries and her son Donald runs away because a scam of his own making has gone awry. Vee has spent the better part of her life taking care of her mother and son, only to be left behind by both of them without so much as a thank you.
But Noel proves to be great company for Vee and together they run some minor scams to have a decent income. When Noel disappears overnight, Vee misses him dearly and does everything she can to find him. It is evident that this child has grown on her and she wants him in her life permanently. The plot really pulls at the heartstrings as Noel realizes that there is suddenly a person in his life that cares about him and he has the potential for a true parent and a lasting home.
CROOKED HEART is a novel with a serious backdrop of World War II but the author manages to make the story heartwarming and funny. For those who love World War II historical fiction, this book is a must read.