5 Stars Readers’ Favorite


Historical Family Drama

To 7 year old Billy Arnold the German air raids over London are just a part of life, until the day his school is bombed. Frightened and confused, he is wrenched from the only life he knows and evacuated to the relative safety of rural Northumberland.

Taken in by the kindly Wells family, Billy soon finds himself thrust into a totally different way of life amongst complete strangers.

However, Billy quickly acclimatises and encouraged by his friend Abe, an old farmhand, he discovers that he has a real talent for woodworking.

As the Second World War draws to its successful conclusion, London is barely recognisable as the country recovers from the aftermath of one of the largest massacres the country has ever faced. A chance encounter with an old friend leads Billy to make a life altering decision, one which will teach him the true meaning of loyalty and betrayal. But ultimately it is also one that will allow him to find true happiness and to fulfil his dreams.


Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers’ Favorite Billy by Shirley Dawson tells the story of 7-year-old Billy throughout the Second World War. Billy thinks nothing of air raids, they are just a part of his life, until a bomb drops on his school. Scared, he is torn from his family and sent to a farm in Northumberland to live with the Wells family. He falls into the new way of life easily and draws close to Frank, Clara, and especially a farmhand called Abe, who shows him he has a way with woodwork. As the war draws to a close, and the country begins its recovery, Billy returns to London, where he faces the challenges of growing up and a meeting with an old friend changes the course of his life. Billy learns the hard truth of betrayal and loyalty but his decisions and his determination push him to fulfill all his dreams and find success and happiness.


What a wonderful story. Billy by Shirley Dawson is a fantastic tale, written with real emotion that shines through on every page. It’s real life, hard-hitting, sad at times, happy at others, and with cruel undertones in places. It can’t have been easy growing up during the war but Shirley has clearly done her research here, providing us with a vivid tale of Billy’s life in London and in Northumberland. Her characters are realistic, likable and easy to relate to and she’ll make you feel like you are really there. Even though it is set during WWII, the subject relates in so many ways to current events across the world. You won’t want to put this book down once you start reading and all the way through you will be rooting for Billy, wanting him to succeed, flinching when things get tough and cheering him on. A fabulous story. I really enjoyed it.


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