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The Valley of Lost Secrets

Lesley Parr



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02 February 2021
Beautifully told. This appealing book is about losses healed, lies uncovered, cruelty defeated and goodness rewarded. The Sunday Times September 1939.

When Jimmy is evacuated to a small village in Wales, it couldn't be more different from London. Green, quiet and full of strangers, he instantly feels out of place.

But then he finds a skull hidden in a tree, and suddenly the valley is more frightening than the war. Who can Jimmy trust? His brother is too little; his best friend has changed.

Finding an ally in someone he never expects, they set out together to uncover the secrets that lie with the skull. What they discover will change Jimmy - and the village - forever.

A mesmerising mystery about bravery and brotherhood from an outstanding new voice.
By:   Lesley Parr
Imprint:   Bloomsbury
Country of Publication:   United Kingdom
Dimensions:   Height: 198mm,  Width: 129mm, 
Weight:   250g
ISBN:   9781526620521
ISBN 10:   1526620529
Pages:   304
Publication Date:   02 February 2021
Audience:   Children/juvenile ,  English as a second language
Format:   Paperback
Publisher's Status:   Active

Lesley grew up in South Wales, at the bottom of a valley and quite near a seaside steelworks. Now she lives in the middle of England (almost as far from the sea as it's possible to get) with her husband and their rescue cat, Angharad. Lesley shares her time between writing stories and teaching at a primary school. Lesley graduated with distinction from Bath Spa University's MA in Writing for Young People. The Valley of Lost Secrets is her first book. @WelshDragonParr

Reviews for The Valley of Lost Secrets

With echoes of Carrie's War, and Goodnight Mister Tom, Parr brings her own fresh voice to what already feels like a wartime classic. This story is quietly brutal and brilliantly heartfelt. I absolutely ADORED it. * Emma Carroll, author of Letters from the Lighthouse * Evocative and heartfelt, The Valley of Lost Secrets already reads like a classic. A celebration of kindness and friendship at a time of upheaval, it's gripping, heart-breaking and yet full of hope. I loved it with all my heart * Liz Hyder, author of Bearmouth * An evacuee story with all the makings of a classic. * Anna Fargher, author of The Umbrella Mouse * A story of friendship, love, loss and belonging; of looking at people deep past their exterior, and of the love and pain in a human heart. There's a cracking mystery at the centre of it, but it was the Welsh backdrop and Jimmy's journey to acceptance that stayed in my heart long after I'd closed the book. * Nizrana Farook, author of The Girl Who Stole an Elephant * A gripping mystery, overflowing with heart - The Valley of Lost Secrets is one of the very best books I've read this year. * Carlie Sorosiak, author of I, Cosmo * What a wonderful book. A brilliant debut - warm and tender, simple in the best way, historical fiction with a light touch. * Ross Montgomery, author of The Midnight Guardians * Lesley Parr's The Valley of Lost Secrets (Bloomsbury), follows Jimmy in wartime, evacuated with his brother to a Welsh mining village, as he slowly acclimatises to his new surroundings. But when Jimmy finds a hidden skull, he unearths a secret that has haunted the community for years. Atmospheric, direct and gripping, with a superbly assured narrative voice, this book is woven through with powerful themes: grief, belonging and making peace with the past. * Guardian * An absolute triumph of warm, tender-hearted, timeless storytelling - Lesley Parr has created a story that feels like it has always been here... and one that I'm sure will still continue to be read many years from now. * Sophie Kirtley, author of The Wild Way Home * The Valley of Lost Secrets vividly evokes the uncomfortable reality of being an evacuee in a new place very different from home, as experienced by 12- year-old Jimmy. This warm, sensitive story celebrates the Welsh community at its heart, but also shows the complexities of living in a small mining town where everyone knows everyone else. I particularly loved the way Lesley describes the landscape and its people. The story moves along at a compelling pace, the historical background is lightly touched in, the characters are memorable. And the ending is truly satisfying. * Julia Green, author of The Children of Swallow Fell * Beautifully written, this story of two brothers from London struggling with homesickness and the mysteries of their new surroundings is one of the best books I've read this year. Human, warm, funny, thrilling, and above all, compelling, The Valley of Lost Secrets leads the reader effortlessly into a convincing world of wartime Wales. We follow Jimmy as he makes sense of his new surroundings and uncovers a secret that relates to the lovely couple who have taken him and his little brother into their home. Along the way, he has to deal with new realities that challenge all the things he thought he knew. Friends that become foes, and old foes that become friends. I massively recommend this for ages 9+. * Fleur Hitchcock, author of The Boy Who Flew * The Valley of Lost Secrets is a heartfelt story set in WW2. It's a perfectly woven mystery but so much more than that. It's about families torn apart, sometimes for the better as well as the worse, and a mining community determined to do their best by the evacuees. The ending brought a tear to my eye! This is historical fiction at its finest. * AM Howell, author of The Garden of Lost Secrets * An unforgettable story that already feels like a classic. Has fast become one of my all-time favourites. Every school should read this. * Juliette Forest, author of Twister * A great book. A real gripping, engaging story, with a nice heart of darkness. * A.F. Harrold, author of The Imaginary * A beautiful, touching, emotional, warm and captivating story. Like a cwtch in a book. Timeless and powerful, The Valley of Lost Secrets has future classic written all over it. * Eloise Williams, Children's Laureate Wales * It's very rare that I read a debut that completely steals my heart away but Lesley Parr's, 'The Valley of Lost Secrets,' is one of these unique finds... A truly extraordinary and accomplished debut which is destined to become a future classic * Book Lover Jo * Lesley Parr is an outstanding new voice in children's literature and definitely one to look out for! * Snaily Can Fly * A stunning novel about evacuation, hardship, challenging times and the strengths and weaknesses of human behaviour * The Breadcrumb Forest * The Valley of Lost Secrets is a wonderful evocation of wartime Wales. There's great warmth in the portrayal of the main characters, but the author doesn't gloss over the harsh realities of life at the time. The result is a mixture of light and dark, joy and sadness. An unforgettable read. * Claire Fayers, author of The Accidental Pirates * A thrilling and touching story about change, family, and friendship * Libraries4schools * An absolutely outstanding book - I was gripped from the first page until the last * Educator, NetGalley Reviewer * Beautifully told. This appealing book is about losses healed, lies uncovered, cruelty defeated and goodness rewarded. * The Sunday Times * a beautifully told novel ... This appealing book is about losses healed, lies uncovered, cruelty defeated and goodness rewarded * Children's Book of the Week, The Sunday Times * An exciting adventure... no wonder this mystery about bravery and brotherhood is Waterstones Children's Book of the Month * Press Association * A wonderfully warm book * Books for Topics * This is a book about the strength of sibling bonds and having the courage to stand up for honesty and truth. With strong characters, a touch of humour and a mystery to solve this is a wonderfully heartfelt and atmospheric story that will stay long in the mind. A satisfying and welcome addition to the canon of WW2 literature for children * Books For Keeps *

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