Marylebone High Street... I've never been able to pronounce Marylebone, despite landing on it multiple times around the Monopoly Board. Fortunately, I never needed to ask for directions in how to get to the actual Marylebone High Street while living in London - I knew it was just across the other side of Regents Park from that glorious lookout point of Primrose Hill. That, and I could literally smell the books in the Oxfam Shop, just awaiting my attention - and my wallet.
It was in the Oxfam Shop that I came across The Very Thought of You, by Rosie Alison. It's her debut novel about an eight-year-old girl, set in London and Yorkshire during World War ll. I was instantly intrigued. It also looked like a delightful little book - I could almost hold it in the palm of my hand. So, without further ado, a purchase was made, and I trekked back through Regents Park in search of a suitable park bench.
It didn't take me long to be swept up into the story of Anna, relocated along with hundreds of other children of war, to the relative safety of a large Yorkshire estate. There she resides in the home of Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, who have opened their home to these children. Yet, there are other reasons why children are welcome - and not so welcome - in this home, and Anna, an inquisitive, yet sensitive child, quickly becomes aware that not all is as it seems.
As described on the dust jacket, it's a story of love, loss and complicated loyalties, however, I was only just appreciating each of these when the story came to an abrupt end. Little did I realise, but I'd picked up a sample copy which contained the first 12 chapters and that was it!! I'm not sure how and why this copy came to be on Oxfam's shelves, or what the purpose of it was, but if it was to ensure the reader bought the full copy, it certainly worked!
And what's more, the remaining 44 chapters are just as good as the first 12!