I really enjoyed reading The Great Gale. Hester Burton did a fine job of writing this. When I read it, I felt very cold, and very wet, and very tired. I could even feel the rain!
Set in Norfolk, the village and people are fictional, but the great gale of 1953 really happened, causing much damage, from Scotland all the way to Holland. It was a result of an unusually high tide, coinciding with very strong winds.
The author has used primary sources to write this book, such as texts from the BBC broadcasting and the Eastern Daily Press newspapers. One moving incident was based on the true story of the rescue of 28 people from their rooftops, by Airman Reis Leming of the United States Air Force. Even though he couldn’t swim, he waded back and forth through icy neck-deep floodwaters towing people to safety in an inflatable rubber dinghy.
The fictional aspects of the story cover the worry of Mary about her friend Myrtle, when Myrtle’s mother’s Post-Office-house is swept away by the flood and no one knows where they are… and when her brother Mark is lost, and the boat he went out in is seen drifting alone on the tide… and an amusing description of Myrtle’s interesting method of saving her ‘Catty’!
I would recommend this book for children aged 7+, but the grown up who read it at my house really liked it too.