Reviews & more

  1. LIBERTY’S FIRE reviews

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    May 19, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    L's F & Absinthe

    ‘remarkable…a novel of extraordinary resonance and power…Both as a gripping narrative which defines the meaning of ‘page-turner’ perfectly and also the bringing to life of a historical event of crucial importance…Liberty’s Fire works superbly.’ Armadillo

    Telegraph ‘best YA book of 2015′: ‘Lydia Syson does another fine job of bringing to life sometimes neglected periods of the past. . .the detail is great. . .’ Martin Chilton, Culture Editor online

    ‘a brilliant milieu for such a story, at a time and place that feel familiar – through stories of the French Revolution and Les Misérables – but which are both distinct and novel. Political ideas and agency are broached; themes of personal, class and gender liberation are all developed in an incident-packed plot. The main protagonists are faced with decisions of moral ambivalence relevant today…an unusual mixture of hard-hitting story-telling and subtle discourse on adolescence – and on the courage needed to face an uncertain world. Highly recommended.’ Historical Novels Review

    ‘Syson brings this pivotal episode of 19th-century history glowingly alive…a great read for young people – and adults for that matter – irrespective of gender.’ Morning Star

    keep reading


  2. A WORLD BETWEEN US reviews

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    April 19, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    Christmas book pick in The Observer , The Telegraph , The Morning Star & Radio Suffolk, Teen book club choice on The Guardian Children’s Book website, recommended as a ‘hot read’ on teen website SugarscapeHighly Commended for Branford Boase Award 2013, longlisted for The Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize 2013, shortlisted for WeRead Book Award 2013, longlisted for UKLA Book Award 2014 and Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize 2013, nominated for the  CILIP Carnegie Medal, 2014.

    Please follow links for full reviews….

    A World Between Us is an outstanding debut novel for teenagers…what Syson captures so well is a sense of heartbreaking courage, comradeship and lost innocence…Thoroughly researched and beautifully written, for what I suspect is a keep reading


  3. THAT BURNING SUMMER reviews

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    April 18, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    Please follow links for full reviews (where available):

    Linda Newbery wrote in Armadillo (Editor’s Choice):

    ‘Lydia Syson is the kind of writer who lets you know from the outset that you’re in safe hands…Like my last Editor’s Choice, Elizabeth Wein’s Rose Under Fire, this is an unusual angle on the Second World War and a excellent addition to the range of fiction available for teenagers.’

    Nicholas Tucker in The Independent (‘Best Books of 2013′) wrote:

    ‘…the final resolution lives up to this story’s consistent excellence. This is only the second novel from an author very much to look out for.’

    Suzi Feay in the Financial Times wrote:

    ‘During the Battle of Britain, fighters zigzagged across the wide skies above Romney Marsh in Kent and planes that crashed were engulfed almost immediately, along with their pilots.  When Henryk, a Polish pilot, bails out over the marshes he is discovered by teenage Peggy, who is immediately drawn to him.  Terrified of having to return to his flying duties, he hides with her help.

    That Burning Summer is Lydia Syson’s second novel and her great strength is characterisation.  Peggy’s mean aunt and shrewd but kindly uncle, her ebullient cousin and most of all her pesky but lovable 11-year-old brother Ernest are vividly drawn.  Ernest is obsessed with government instructions about how to spot spies.  Add to the mix a local bully, spiteful anonymous letters and the ready availability of guns, and the scene seems set for inevitable tragedy.

    A touching evocation of a desperate wartime romance, which evokes a vanished era of hardship and fortitude.’

    We Love This Book wrote:

    ‘Unearthing aspects of the Second World War that teenagers are unlikely to cover in schools, a wealth of history is entwined with the story of one family and a seemingly impossible romance…That Burning Summer is a refreshingly different war story, focussing 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. Henryk’s slowly revealed past is fascinating, as is the exploration of pacifism at home and the effects of the aerial dogfights on pilots. But it is Syson’s beautifully developed characters that make the history come vividly to life.’

    keep reading


  4. DOCTOR OF LOVE reviews

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    April 17, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    JamesGraham

    “Syson’s enthralling book offers a new portrait of Graham as an authentic innovator… [An] admirable and engaging book.” - The Guardian

    “I was entranced by Lydia Syson’s superb volume… keep reading


  5. Find out more about about the history behind Liberty’s Fire

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    March 2, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    PCBookshelf

    ‘What is the Commune, that sphinx so tantalizing to the bourgeois mind?’ (Marx:The Civil War in France)

    Simply put, the Paris Commune was the radical municipal government elected to run the French capital in March 1871, immediately after the Franco-Prussian War and the Siege of Paris – not to be confused with the first French Revolution in 1789, or the July Revolution of 1830, or indeed the small uprising of 1832 featured in Les Miserables, or even the 1848 revolution which brought in the short-lived Second Republic. It lasted for 72 days, and historians have been debating exactly how to define it ever since.

    keep reading


  6. That Burning Summer: links and background resources

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    March 1, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    romneymarsh2012c

    Interested in exploring any of the history, ideas or places in That Burning Summer?  Here are some good starting points – keep reading


  7. Find out more about the background to A WORLD BETWEEN US

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    March 1, 2015 by Lydia Syson

    There have been about 15,000 books written in English about the Spanish Civil War – twice that many in Spanish, and more are published every month in Spain.

    Here I’ve listed some of the books that influenced me most keep reading


  8. Morning Star 17th March 2016

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    April 11, 2013 by Lydia Syson

    MStar-LydiaSyson-kidsbooks MArch 17


  9. Spanish Civil War songs

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    September 27, 2012 by Lydia Syson

    LBC song book cover

    You can hear different versions of nearly all the songs in A World Between Us on YouTube.  Many of these videos include evocative archive images of the Spanish Civil War. Print out song sheets for The Internationale and The Peat Bog Soldiers from the Hot Key Books website.

    keep reading


  10. My friendly locals…

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    September 5, 2012 by Lydia Syson

    TOMLnarniawindow[1]

    …in other words, the independent booksellers I’m lucky enough to have near me. We may not have the tube in South East London, but you’re never far from a brilliant bookshop.   keep reading


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"an outstanding debut novel for teenagers" THE GUARDIAN

"a fantastic historical fiction debut" THE BOOKSELLER

"a novel of extraordinary resonance and power" ARMADILLO

"a compelling story of politics and passion, bravery and love" BOOKTRUST

'the writing is powerful, the events terrifying' THE BOOKBAG

'Highly recommended' BOOKS FOR KEEPS

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