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The Exiles at Home by Hilary McKay
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The Exiles at Home (1993)

by Hilary McKay

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The cover says "earnest", and also "heartfelt", maybe even "moving". What it doesn't say is "funny". It's the British Penderwicks, not a problem novel about a parent off at war. But just for fun, feel free to share what the cover image makes you think the book will be about.

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  Kaethe | Oct 16, 2016 |
This was a great book! Sequel to 'The Exiles', which I quite enjoyed, this is a great story of a somewhat bohemian family with four daughters aged from six up to thirteen. Life is chaotic in their household, and they're usually late for everything.

The story begins during the Christmas holidays, and snow. Rachel asks for - and is given - a sledge, which becomes her favourite possession. All too quickly school term begins; on the first morning, they're not just disorganised and late - Ruth and Naomi, the two older girls, have forgotten their books, their lunches and their PE kit. Then Ruth realises that she's still wearing her pyjama jacket with her school skirt...

It's not slapstick, although occasionally it approaches that state. It's a wonderful, warm-hearted, delightful family tale of generosity and inventiveness; of girls who are given a great deal of freedom, but who care about responsibility and commitments. They are not a wealthy family, so, when Ruth - in a moment of craziness - commits ten pounds a month to supporting a small boy in Africa, she and her sisters determine to continue this support all year, even though they have to discover new and unusual ways to earn what is, to them, quite a significant amount of money.

Written in 1993, this book reads almost like one of the beloved books from my childhood, set in a rather more trusting period when children could go out and about by themselves and there few concerns about getting to know strangers so long as they were sensible.

Definitely recommended to anyone from the age of about six or seven and upwards. Including adults. ( )
  SueinCyprus | Jan 26, 2016 |
Book Reviews
The Exiles at Home
Hilary McKay

“You’ve bought an illegal boy in Africa?” asked Naomi, amazed. “You can’t buy people! And anyhow, you never have any money, none of us do! What are you going to do about it?”
The school term is just beginning for the four Conroy girls, and from the beginning, things start happening.
Is it just chance that Ruth Conroy happens to go to the library and fills out a form saying that she wants to sponsor a child in Africa for ten pounds a month?
However, after sending away all of her Christmas money, Ruth becomes in desperate need of money. So she lets her older sister Naomi in on the secret, and then her two younger sisters, Rachel and Phoebe. With all of them trying to get money, their grandmother and mother begin to get suspicious at their urgent requirements, and unless they can get the money in time, their secret won’t be a secret for very long.
This book will interest ages 8-15.
I enjoyed reading ‘The Exiles at Home’ because you immediately want to read more of the story as it is humorous and compelling.
Some other books by this author are:
· The Exiles
· The Exiles in Love
· Indigo’s Star
· Saffy’s Angel
· Permanent Rose
I would rate this book 3 stars out of 5 for it’s excellent and interesting storyline.
1 vote jrhaase | Jan 5, 2010 |
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The Christmas holidays began with the bringing home of school reports by the four Conroy girls, and although the reports had been handed out in sealed envelopes with strict instructions to deliver them to their parents unopened, only Pheobe’s arrived home in this condition.
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When Ruth, the eldest of the Conroy sisters, sponsors the education of a child in Africa, she has little hope of concealing it from her three sisters for long.

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