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Two wonderfully evocative short novels from the author of There Was A Time – surely the last novel about the Second World War to have been written by someone who served in it.

Innocence is paired here with a complementary story, A Morse Code Set, first published in 1964 and available recently only as an eBook.

In A Morse Code Set, set in Manchester in 1939, a boy finds his world turned upside down by the outbreak of war. When his own father is called up by the Army and Freddy accepts an offer from the father of one of his friends to repair his beloved morse code set, the youngster sets in motion a potentially tragic turn of events.

In Innocence, young Tony grapples with the consequences of his father leaving his family, and a growing awareness of his own sexuality. The narrative brilliantly conjures a place and time – a Yorkshire village in the 1960s – and is yet quite universal, a story of family, community and heartbreak, of growing up and growing away.

Reviews

A wonderful read
Telegraph