The war was over and Dad is coming home at last! But the days and weeks go by, and when he does return, Dad is not the happy man that young Rita once knew and Thomas thinks he remembers.
Struggling to understand his sadness and fears, the kids accompany him as he readjusts to home life, all the while singing his favourite song. One day, while they help him fix the deck, Dad starts to join in the song …
Hatley-Owen beautifully captures children’s views of the return from the war, and the realities of shell shock for the men who returned after the First World War ended on 11 November 1918. Soldiers who returned from the war often faced difficulty re-entering society after the horrors they had faced on the battlefield. Most never spoke about their experiences and managed to carry on as before. However, many men faced on-going psychological trauma.
Not only affecting the soldiers, but their families too, the story shows that not all soldiers return unharmed from war, and not all wounds are physical. But with love, care and support, they can heal.