22.10.2015 Books

That Burning Summer by Lydia Syson

Gripping YA war love drama about adolescent Peggy and Henryk, young Polish pilot

Romney Marsh, July 1940. When invasion threatens, you have to grow up quickly. Sixteen-year-old Peggy has been putting on a brave face since the fall of France, but now the enemy is overhead, and the rules are changing all the time. Staying on the right side of the law proves harder than she expects when a plane crash-lands in the Marsh: it’s Peggy who finds its pathetic, broken pilot; a young Polish man, Henryk, who stays hidden in a remote church, secretly cared for by Peggy. As something more blossoms between the two, Peggy’s brother Ernest’s curiosity peaks and other secrets come to light, forcing Peggy and Henryk to question all the loyalties and beliefs they thought they held dear. In one extraordinary summer the lives of two young people will change forever, in a tense and gripping historical drama from Lydia Syson, the author of the acclaimed A World Between Us.

Syson’s…great strength is characterisation…A touching evocation of a desperate wartime romance, which evokes a vanished era of hardship and fortitude.
— Suzi Feay Financial Times

Beautifully evoking the atmosphere of a small rural community under threat, it simmers with tension and intensity.
— Booktrust

That Burning Summer is a refreshingly different war story, focusing as it does on the rarely mentioned Polish allies who joined the war effort, fighting for Britain as they were unable to help from occupied Poland.
— We Love This Book

Lydia Syson is a fifth-generation North Londoner who now lives south of the river with her partner and four children. After an early career as a BBC World Service Radio producer, she turned from the spoken to the written word, and developed an enduring obsession with history. Her PhD about poets, explorers and Timbuktu was followed by a biography of Britain’s first fertility guru, Doctor of Love: James Graham and his celestial bed, and then two YA novels for Hot Key Books set in the Spanish Civil War (A World Between Us, 2012) and World War Two (That Burning Summer, 2013). Liberty’s Fire (2015), a passionate tale of the Paris Commune of 1871, is the third of her novels to be inspired, very loosely, by family history: Lydia’s anarchist great-great-grandmother moved in Communard circles in late nineteenth-century London. Last Hope, a contemporary ghost story with a political and historical twist, is among the exclusive resources available in 2015/16 to subscribers of the National Literacy’s Trust’s reading intervention programme, Premier League Football Stars.

Lydia Syson is an RLF Fellow at the Courtauld Institute of Art, and a Visiting Lecturer at City University, London.  She is also is a History Girl, and a member of SAS, the SoA, the Historical Writers Association and CWISL, Children’s Writers and Illustrators in South London. You can follow Lydia on www.lydiasyson.com or on Twitter: @lydiasyson

That Burning Summer
By Lydia Syson
Published by Hot Key Books
Publishing date: October 2013
ISBN 978-1471400537
Order online

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