First time novelist Jura MacLean Sherwood has written a very moving and powerful story concerning the plight of two hundred and forty one children evacuees from Britain in 1940, who were on their way to Canada.
Although the story is a work of fiction, it is based on records of a British Government program called the Children’s Overseas Reception Board (CORB): a scheme devised to save the children of Britain by sending them to the Dominions of Canada, New Zealand, Australia and South Africa. The author also has indicated that her story was based on many other sources, and it is apparent that her research on the subject matter is solid.
The author dedicates Wave Me Goodbye to the memory of the 83 British evacuee children who perished when the German submarine U48 torpedoed the SS Benares on the 17th of September 1940.
At the heart of the novel is a stunning portrait of patriotic twenty- two year old, Priscilla Thornton, who volunteers to accompany these evacuee children to Canada on a ship called the Punjohpur.
Particularly moving is the manner in which Sherwood draws the reader into Priscilla’s feelings: love for her childhood sweetheart, Ted Evans, and the tragedy that befalls many of the children and their escorts. A tragedy, that perhaps could have been avoided, if, as we are informed, the convoy of the Punjohpur had not followed orders to scatter at the first sign of attack and not to stop to rescue survivors.
The horrid adventures are retold in a way that reflects Sherwood’s effective story telling skills- swiftly moving the plot along and keeping you engaged until the last page.