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Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite
A young British girl sent to Australia with her siblings during the height of World War II is determined to trace and reunite with her family again in Joan Fallon’s moving historical novel, The Only Blue Door. Before the war, Maggie and her family lived an idyllic life in London’s East End. Their house has the only door painted blue. Maggie’s father had painted it her favorite color before leaving for the war. As other women and children are evacuated, Maggie’s family remains in London. Her mother, Irene, is convinced that the war will soon be over and is determined to receive her husband when he returns. But things take a turn for the worst, and in all the confusion, the children are sent to Australia as migrant children.
Even when faced with grim circumstances, all the main characters in this moving novel display courage and strength. Maggie provides direction and takes care of her siblings while also trying to cope with changes and challenges. Her sister, Grace, survives physical and emotional torture in the orphanage where she is placed with Maggie. Separated from his sisters, their brother, Billy, is forced to carve out a life of his own. Irene is also forced to move forward without knowing the fate of her children. The story also covers the horrors immigrant children had to endure, including separation from their families, mistreatment in orphanages run by unqualified staff, and trauma from their experiences and the war. The Only Blue Door by Joan Fallon is a powerful coming-of-age novel about immigrant children who learn to survive in a foreign country during World War II.