When I saw the title of the newest offering by Edward Bloor, I knew it had to make the journey across the Pond to England. Yesterday, on the flight back to Houston, I cracked it open and fell into a world I had just finished visiting, London of the past, present, and near future. Martin Conway attends All Souls School as one of a handful of scholarship students, kids who are given a break in tuition because one of their family members works for the school. In Martin's case, it is his mother who serves as secretary to the school administrator. At the end of the school year, Martin becomes involved in an altercation with another, more privileged student, one whose ancestor has been praised for his dedicated service during WWII. Martin's grandfather, Martin Meehan, also served in London during the war as well alongside Joe Kennedy and several other players. Now All Souls plans to dedicate a new statue to include with President Kennedy and FDR, a statue of Hollerin' Hank Lowery. So far, this novel seems like yet another novel that examines the chasm between the "haves" and the "have nots." But Bloor is not your ordinary novelist and this story is about to take an interesting turn, sideways, into the past.
When Martin's grandmother dies and leaves him an old Philco radio. One night, while listening to the static that is emitted from the radio, Martin finds himself transported back in time. He is in a room listening to the same radio with a young boy named Jimmy Harker who asks Martin for assistance. Martin now has to decide whether or not he will help Jimmy and do his bit to help. And now the novel takes yet another turn, beginning to come full circle. Bloor masterfully blends the past and present in this novel that examines war, heroism, guilt, and many more issues that could not be more topical or relevant given what is happening today.
I know in part that this novel resonated for me as I had just seen so many of the places that are important to this story. However, even readers who have never taken a step in London will find this story, part mystery/part history, intriguing.