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The War Child

Author(s): Renita D'Silva

Location(s): England, India

Genre(s): Fiction, Historical

Era(s): 1914 - 1995



“Her mother cradled Clara tightly as they crouched under the table in the basement. As the house started to shake, she took off her silver necklace and with fumbling fingers fastened it around her daughter’s little neck. There was a huge crash, louder than fireworks or thunder. And then her mother was gone.”

Orphan Clara Knight is haunted by the memory of her house being bombed during the First World War – she was miraculously pulled from the rubble, finding herself all alone in a dark world. In the years that followed, she struggled to rebuild her life, desperately scarred by her childhood, finding solace in nursing and helping others.

When a tragically injured soldier arrives from Europe, hospital staff are fearful and will not touch him. But Clara grew up listening to her father’s memories of his time in India and offers to nurse him back to health. Day and night she cares for Anand Goel alone, and as they begin to share stories of each other’s lives, she starts to fall for him.

London, 1940. As war returns in earnest, Clara realises she is pregnant and the new life growing inside her provides a glimmer of hope. When her son is born, Clara sees her mother at last in his deep brown eyes. But as bombs begin to fall on the city, she cannot let history repeat itself. To save her son, can Clara let him go? And will she ever find him again in this world on fire?

An unforgettable and haunting novel about love, secrets and betrayal set during humanity’s darkest hour.

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Enter the 2021TripFiction 'Sense of Place' Creative Writing Competition!

A story in which the location plays as important a role as the rest of your words.

2,500 word maximum, 750 word minimum

Judges include Victoria Hislop and Rosanna Ley

First Prize of £1,000 / US$1,350

Prizes total £1,750 / US$2,362 

Winning entry published on TripFiction site and publicised on Social Media

Entries close 6th November 2021