Goodnight Mr Tom

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In September 1939, as Britain stands on the edge of World War II, many young children from the cities are sent into the countryside to escape an imminent Nazi bombardment. William "Willie" Beech, a boy from London who is physically and emotionally abused by his mother, arrives at the home of Mr. Thomas Oakley, a widower in his sixties who lives in the village of Little Weirwold. The boy is thinly clad, underfed and covered with painful bruises, and believing he is full of sin, a result of his upbringing by his domineering, God-fearing mother. "Mister Tom", as Willie christens his new guardian, is reclusive and bad-tempered, and as such is avoided by the community. Willie lives with him as his Mother wants him to live with someone who is either very religious or lives next to a Church. Though initially distant, he is touched after discovering William's home-life and treats him with kindness and understanding, helping to educate him. Under his care, William begins to progress, forming a small circle of friends at school among his classmates including fellow-evacuee Zach. He also becomes proficient in drawing and dramatics. As William is changed by Tom, so is Tom transformed by William's presence in his home. It is revealed that Tom lost his wife and baby son to scarletina some 40 years previously, and he has become reclusive because of this. The growing bond between William and Tom is threatened when William's mother requests that the boy return to her in the city, telling him she is sick. At first, William thinks this will be a good thing, as he can be helpful to his mother. However his mother is not pleased to learn the details of his time with Tom, feeling that he has not been disciplined properly. While William has been away, she has become pregnant and had a girl, but is neglecting the baby. After a bad reunion, where his mother becomes furious upon learning the details of her son's life with Tom, abhorring his association with the Jewish Zach among other...
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