Pete and his family have moved from London to Glasgow as his father has a new job. Life is not great at home as his mother finds looking after his colicky baby sister very difficult, but after living in a flat, Pete likes their new semi-detached house – though actually the other half is just a ruin. Then Pete hears a girl crying through the wall … This girl turns out to be Beth, who lived next door during the Second World War, and has returned to look for a box containing her memories – in particular a photograph of her mother, who died in the bombing raid which destroyed their house. Pete’s new friend Dunny finds Beth’s journal, and the boys read it together in the old air raid shelter. Increasingly Pete’s life is taken over by Beth and he goes back in time to help her. When he is hurt, the doctor who comes to treat him is none other than Beth’s son Hugh, over from New Zealand where his mother is now dying.
Up to this point this is a very enjoyable story: there is a good portrayal of a male friendship that is based on their love of football; and Beth, both as a girl and as an old lady, is a convincingly drawn character. However, the appearance of Hugh is too contrived to be convincing, even if it does round the story off very neatly.
This is a reissue of a book previously published in 2001 as Think Me Back; presumably the reissue is due to Cathy Forde’s growing success, but it really could have done with some editing. While it is very readable and full of interesting details of the bombing of Glasgow certain things – like the mention of Hallowe’en, which was surely not celebrated in 1941 – don’t ring true.