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The Cuckoo's Parting Cry

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About the Author. Anthea Halliwell Anthea Halliwell was born in Ceylon, where her father was a tea planter. Sign up to the Penguin Newsletter For the latest books, recommendations, offers and more.


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Please enter an email. Please enter a valid email address. It is set in the 's and is a wonderful story of childhood, when an 8yr old was still a very young child with a blissful ignorance of adult life. No TV, no celebrity mags, no mobile phones, no size zero WAGS regarded as role models in those days - just long, hot summers when children roamed free and were signalled to come home for tea by a beach towel hung out of a bedroom window.

The Cry of the Cuckoos by John Cargile | Waterstones

The little girl, Fidgie, actually lives in an unhappy home - her mother is distant and quite severe, her father absent for long periods of time until he returns home to terrorise Fidgie and her mother as well as her older brother, Tom. Te only member of the family exempt from his cruelty is fidgie's malicious older sister, Cly.

But dear Fidgie just accepts that this is her life and gets on with it. At the start of the story, she makes a new friend, Chaz, who is living with his elderly uncle in a large house close by. Fidgie's family are hard up and she is used to hand-me-downs and making do but chaz seems to have huge amounts of money to spend and Fidgie is fascinated by him. He is also nice to her and enjoys her company.

They sail together and go for long walks exploring the Welsh coastline together with his uncle who is also kind. Purely by chance, Fidgie and Chaz witness a series of events which mean nothing to them but the reader can see a whole tragic story unfolding inexorably and the result is a most compelling read.

To the Cuckoo by William Wordsworth, Day 53 poetry reading

Fidgie is a delightful character, always in trouble, but one who doesn't let anything much get her down. That's just how it is. All the other character are vividly described and well written, the setting is idyllic and the story really absorbing. This, Anthea Halliwell's first novel, was published in and I hope she has written more since. I shall certainly be on the lookout. She is a very good writer with a wonderful understanding of childhood.

As I say, I found it on a book stall.