Posts Tagged ‘Patricia Murphy’

Leo's War - Poolbeg cover - FOR PRINT.jpeg

** My thanks to Rachel at Rachel’s Random Resources for my copy of this book and for inviting me to take part in the blog tour **



It’s 1943 and young Leo tries to protect his disabled sister Ruby as the Nazis invade Italy.  After his mother is arrested, he turns to Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty to save them.  But he is no ordinary priest.  Known as ‘The Pimpernel of the Vatican’, the Monsignor is the legendary organizer of the Rome Escape Line.  Soon Leo is helping out with this secret network dedicated to saving the lives of escaped prisoners of war, partisans and Jews.  But as the sinister Nazi leader Kappler closes in on the network, can Leo and his sister stay out of his evil clutches?

My Thoughts & Review:

I am a huge fan of stories with a setting in WWII, and so when this book popped up on my radar I instantly added it to the ever growing list of books I’d like to read. It is part of a set by the publisher of “Hands on History” books, an entertaining and enjoyable way of bringing historical tales to the hands of children. The other books in the series look just as promising and I have already added these to my mountainous list to buy.

Leo’s War is set in Italy during the Italian Campaign of WWII, where many people took measures to rise up against the Fascists and Nazis. One such person who made it a mission to subvert the ruling forces was Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a man that would have a pivotal role in the life of young Leo and his sister Ruby.
One night Leo’s mother is arrested at their home, and being like any young adventurous hero, Leo takes the decision to head to Rome with is disabled sister to seek safety and the mysterious Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty. All he has is a name, a location and tune to whistle … what could possibly go wrong? As the youngsters make their way under the cover of darkness, they have little idea of how truly dangerous their journey could be or who they might encounter.
Eventually they do reach Rome and make contact with the Monsignor, what then follows is a tense and often anxious ride to the end of the war in Italy.

Leo is a character that I think many readers will take an instant liking to, his personality is such that it’s hard not to. He has a kind heart and loves his mother and sister dearly, his main concern throughout is the safety of those around him and not once takes a moment to think for himself, quite commendable really. He does at times struggle with the decisions that other characters make, not able to perhaps see “the bigger picture”, his youthful naivety colouring his thinking. He takes to helping those who need to escape without a second thought, and some of the scrapes he gets into are enough to have you gasping in horror or chuckling in admiration. But as much as I adored Leo, I have to admit that Ruby was the one that stole my heart, something about her just made dazzle me. Whether it was her determination to be heard or perhaps just the stories she told, she really brought out a side of characters in this book that made them more human, more real. I cannot ramble this far and not mention the wonderfully cunning yet sneaky Monsignor Hugh O’Flaherty, a truly remarkable man for what he did to help those in desperate need. His actions saved so many lives and the depiction of him in Leo’s War makes him such a easy character to connect with.

The writing is fantastic, the pace of the story is such that no matter how many times you say “just one more chapter”, you will end up racing through the book eager to see what happens next. The language used throughout makes this suitable for children and teenagers, as well as grown ups.
It’s an exiting and enjoyable read that educates on an aspect of WWII that many might not have much knowledge about, and more importantly it highlights the work of a truly remarkable figure from history that shouldn’t be forgotten.

Absolutely cannot recommend this book highly enough, and I cannot wait to see what the other books in the Hands on History series are like!

You can buy a copy of Leo’s War via:

Amazon UK
Book Depository


There is a giveaway running on this blog tour, the prize is a £30.00 Amazon gift voucher (this is however only open to UK entries).

*Terms and Conditions –UK entries welcome.  Please enter using the Rafflecopter link below.  The winner will be selected at random via Rafflecopter from all valid entries and will be notified by Twitter and/or email. If no response is received within 7 days then I reserve the right to select an alternative winner. Open to all entrants aged 18 or over.  Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. This will passed to the giveaway organiser and used only for fulfilment of the prize, after which time I will delete the data.  I am not responsible for despatch or delivery of the prize.

Rafflecopter Giveaway Link


About the Author:

 Patricia Murphy is the bestselling author of The Easter Rising 1916 – Molly’s Diary and Dan’s Diary – the War of Independence 1920-22 published by Poolbeg.

She has also written the prize-winning “The Chingles” trilogy of children’s Celtic fantasy novels.   Patricia is also an award winning Producer/Director of documentaries including Children of Helen House, the BBC series on a children’s hospice and Born to Be Different Channel 4’s flagship series following children born with disabilities. Many of her groundbreaking programmes are about children’s rights and topics such as growing up in care, crime and the criminal justice system. She has also made a number of history programmes including Worst Jobs in History with Tony Robinson for Channel 4 and has produced and directed films for the Open University.

Patricia grew up in Dublin and is a graduate in English and History from Trinity College Dublin and of Journalism at Dublin City University. She now lives in Oxford with her husband and young daughter.

Social Media Links:

Website: https://www.patriciamurphyonline.com

Twitter: @_PatriciaMurphy

Facebook – h https://www.facebook.com/Leos-War-Irelands-Secret-World-War-2-Hero-714055598929732

Facebook  –  https://www.facebook.com/Mollys-Diary-The-1916-Rising-277254289106782/


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