Today, April Gardner is sharing an excerpt from her Astraea Press novel, Lizzie and the Guernsey Gang.
Lizzie Browning loves nothing more than her tiny, island-home of Guernsey, but when German bombs drop on her crystal beach, her peaceful world explodes. For months, the big war in Europe has been nothing more than stories in the paper, but as the enemy takes over Guernsey, the war rushes to her doorstep. For Lizzie, younger brother Andre, and cousin James, the time to escape is now, and they know just how to do it.
Phillip Seifert, the odd boy from down the street, has all the markings of a genuine Nazi-lover. Lizzie knows better than to trust him, but he somehow manages to weasel his way into James’ good graces. Phillip joins the gang in their audacious escape plan, and Lizzie can do little more than pray he doesn’t get them all shot. But Lizzie soon learns that God doesn’t always answer prayers in the way she expects. He might actually plan for them to live under Nazi rule…forever.
Like a hawk preparing to dive for a rabbit, moving in unison, the planes dove toward the earth. I could see their wheels now. Their noses pointed toward the ancient fort set on a nearby bluff.
My gaze shot to James. I found fear in his eyes. One more glimpse at the planes, and I understood. At once, the whine of their powerful engines became the sound of the enemy. The sound of Germans.
I clutched Andre’s hand and ran. James was just ahead, leading us home. He dashed over the stony ground in a straight path toward the seawall and the road just beyond.
Rocks dug into my feet. The racket of the planes swelled behind me. From across the island, more great rumbles reached my ears.
“They’re bombing St. Peter Port,” James cried.
My legs picked up speed, as if trying to keep time with my heart pounding in my chest. Andre struggled to keep up, but I refused to let go or slow down.
The seawall loomed ahead. In one leap, James mounted it. He turned and thrust out his hand. “Come on, hurry.”
Still running, I stretched my arm toward him. A resounding blast shook the earth under my feet. With a cry, I tumbled forward and slammed into the stone wall. Disoriented, I looked for my brother. He wiggled beneath me.
I crawled off him. “Are you hurt?” Half my words were drowned in another violent roar. Before my ears had time to stop ringing, a third deafening blast rattled my chest.
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