Friday, 31 August 2018

#BlogTour Leo's War by Patricia Murphy

Today it's my pleasure to take part in the BlogTour for Leo's War by Patricia Murphy. It's historical fiction written for both younger and older readers, combining historical facts with a fictional family and scenario to inspire reading and to educate.
Don't miss the Giveaway at the bottom of the post! (Open to UK only)

About the Author
Patricia Murphy is the bestselling author of The Easter Rising 1916 – Molly’s Diary and Dan’s Diary – the War of Independence 1920-22 published by Poolbeg.

She has also written the prize-winning “The Chingles” trilogy of children’s Celtic fantasy novels.   Patricia is also an award winning Producer/Director of documentaries including Children of Helen House, the BBC series on a children’s hospice and Born to Be Different Channel 4’s flagship series following children born with disabilities. Many of her groundbreaking programmes are about children’s rights and topics such as growing up in care, crime and the criminal justice system. She has also made a number of history programmes including Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson for Channel 4 and has produced and directed films for the Open University.

Patricia grew up in Dublin and is a graduate in English and History from Trinity College Dublin and of Journalism at Dublin City University. She now lives in Oxford with her husband and young daughter.

Follow @_PatriciaMurphy @PoolbegBooks on Twitter
Buy Leo's War

About the book
It’s 1943 and young Leo tries to protect his disabled sister Ruby as the Nazis invade Italy.  After his mother is arrested, he turns to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty to save them.  But he is no ordinary priest.  Known as ‘The Pimpernel of the Vatican’, the Monsignor is the legendary organizer of the Rome Escape Line.  Soon Leo is helping out with this secret network dedicated to saving the lives of escaped prisoners of war, partisans and Jews.  But as the sinister Nazi leader Kappler closes in on the network, can Leo and his sister stay out of his evil clutches?

Murphy takes moments in history and creates a reading experience that simultaneously teaches and entertains. She combines real historical facts and people with a fictional storyline, but her fiction is kept as close to the real events as possible.

Leo is stuck in a precarious position in Italy, during a dangerous time for the child of someone in the Allied Forces. A boy of Jewish heritage, the brother of a disabled sister, and the son of a woman dealing in secrets. There were probably many Leo's or young boys with vulnerable sisters and missing parents, during World War 2. In that sense Leo plays a pivotal role and yet at the same time his story is synonymous with many others.

There are sets of scholastic books with a similar setting, however they tend to be short, factual and less of an engrossing read. I think the author wants readers, especially younger readers, to experience the emotional repercussions and the traumatic events on a more personal level. Instead of just being bombarded with facts, and being overwhelmed by the atrocities, the reader engages with Leo and is interested in his survival. In that sense the author achieves her goal, because it is hands on history.

One of the other elements of Leo's War is using bonafide historical figures and events, victims and heroes to solidify the story, and also to make people aware of the forgotten heroes in history. The people brave enough to resist oppression, to save the innocent and willing to die to free their country from fascist regimes. The forgotten voices and names in history.

One of those names and people is Monsignor Hugh O'Flaherty, a man known for his Catholic resistance to Nazism, and for saving over 6500 Jews and Allied soldiers. He used his connections, his fellow priests and the walls of the inner sanctum of the Vatican to save as many people as he could. He was known as 'The Scarlet Pimpernel of the Vatican' and his cat and mouse games with the SS have become the subject of movies and books.

If, as an author, you can entice not only willing but also reluctant readers to read and to learn about history at the same time, then you have most definitely done your job. Would I buy this book to introduce a younger reader to the atrocities of the Nazi regime in Italy, the answer is yes. Murphy shows the turmoil, violence and danger without graphic details, and mass murder in a way that the reader acknowledges the horror, but isn't afraid to keep reading.

Leo's War is our history and the history of your descendants. Knowledge is power. It prepares future generations and makes them aware of the mistakes we shouldn't repeat. It's also a birdsong of resistance and rebellion.

Buy Leo's War at Amazon UK or go to Goodreads for any other retailer.
Buy at Bookdepository Poolbeg
Publisher: Poolbeg Books

Enter the Giveaway below to win a £30 Amazon Gift Voucher (Open to UK Only)

a Rafflecopter giveaway
*Terms and Conditions – Open to UK entries only.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter box above. The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data. I am not responsible for dispatch or delivery of the prize.*

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