The Only Blue Door by Joan Fallon

When a bomb destroys their home three children are left wandering the streets of London.

The only blue door

It is September 1940, Maggie and her young siblings, Grace and Billy, are living in the East End of London with their parents.  Their father has been killed at Dunkirk and their mother goes into hospital to have her fourth child, leaving the children with a neighbour.  In one of the worst bombing raids of the war their home is destroyed and the neighbour is killed.  Bewildered and frightened, the children wander the streets until they are taken in by some nuns.  But their problems are not over; no-one can trace their mother and, labelled as orphans, they are sent as child migrants to Australia.

The story traces their adventures in their new country, the homesickness, the heartbreak when Billy is separated from his sisters and the loneliness of life in a cold and unfeeling orphanage.   Eventually the children make new lives for themselves, but Maggie is still convinced that her mother is alive and once she is old enough, begins to search for her.  

This novel is based on the experiences of real people and reflects the attitudes of the day to child migration during and after the Second World War.

Genre: FICTION / Historical

Secondary Genre: FICTION / War & Military

Language: English

Keywords: 20th century, child migrants, Blitz, World War II, evacuees, Australia, family saga

Word Count: 128,347

Sales info:

#2 in Historical Australian & Oceanian Fiction
#131 in Historical Literary Fiction
#526 in Teen & Young Adult eBooks

Sample text:

The airline ticket lies on top of her bag where she cannot miss it, everything is packed and ready to go but still she hesitates.  What will he think of her after all these years?  Does he blame her?  He has never said so in his letters, but then he never says much at all in his letters and, now that he is married, it is his wife, Adaline, who writes and gives her the latest news.  Usually she tells her about the children and nowadays, the grandchildren too.  Maggie sits down and picks up the last photo that her sister-in-law sent her, Billy, an old man now, sitting astride a brown horse, his hat awry.  For a moment she thinks she can glimpse the child she used to know behind that grizzled beard and weather beaten face; the old pain of separation returns briefly but she tosses it aside.  Better late than never, that was what her grandmother, a woman with a homily for every occasion, used to say.  So many years, virtually a lifetime of separation, for what?   The man in the photograph is looking at her; his eyes, which she knows are blue even though the photograph gives no hint of the colour, are kind; the skin around them is wrinkled from squinting into the sun and, she hopes, laughing.  He is a man at peace with himself; he is not accusing her of anything.

Her hat, she must not forget her sunhat, she pads around the bedroom checking and rechecking her bag.  She sets the alarm clock for six and places it by the bed, close at hand so she will hear it.  She must not miss the flight; she has convinced herself that if she does not go this time she will never go and she will never see Billy again.

Book translation status:

The book is available for translation into any language except those listed below:

Already translated. Translated by Evelyn T M Martins
Already translated. Translated by Eva Romero Lozano

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