18 June 2010

In Lonnie’s Shadow

by Chrissie Michaels

Ford Street Publishing. Young Adult, Australian, History. Paperback, rrp $19.95

Lonnie McGuinness is a young lad living in the slums of Melbourne in 1891. He is a boy with a heart that keeps getting him into trouble. From his love for his boss’s daughter to the love for his mother and the two girls who are his mates, Daisy a Salvation Army worker and Pearl a worker of the streets. Whatever Lonnie does, he always ends up in trouble.
In Lonnie’s Shadow tells the tale of one young man’s struggle to overcome poverty, depression, disease and the street gangs he is surrounded by.

Beginning with a break-and-enter to retrieve something that was not rightfully taken in Lonnie’s eyes, every step is purposeful ... to set things right. Lonnie is always looking out for those more unfortunate than himself. He never sees himself as a victim although he wonders often why he can’t rise above the slush that surrounds his feet. But when Pearl goes missing and Daisy’s past gradually comes to light, the only way for Lonnie to help is to participate in an illegal horse race to win the money that will raise all three of them from the depths of their horrid world.

This book is a historical tale that will appeal to teenagers. Gangs, abortion, illegal races, and unrequited love – it’s all in here.

A powerful story that will keep a twenty-first century kid not only engaged, but might just stimulate an interest in stories of the past.


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