Reader Reviewed Tilly's Promise by Linda Newbery

Tilly's Promise

Written by Linda Newbery

13+ readers   Super-readable Dyslexia-friendly   Reluctant Readers   The First World War   
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One of our Dyslexia Friendly Books of the Year 2014 - Interest Age Teen Reading Age 8+ Award-winning Linda Newbery gives a fresh insight into the First World War in this deeply touching story. Village sweethearts Tilly and Harry are both willing to do what they can to help win the war. Harry joins up to serve in France and Tilly trains as a nurse stationed first near home and later in France. Despite their best intentions each of them finds themselves unable to keep promises made in the course of action. Can they still trust themselves? Can they trust each other? Linda Newbery sensitively charts the wider ripples of the war and its effect.

A Piece of Passion from the Editor, Ruth Williams ‘I loved working on Tilly's Promise. Tilly's such an appealing narrator – sympathetic, yet matter-of-fact and totally lacking in self-pity. Tilly's own experiences as a nurse are moving enough, but particularly distressing are her concerns for her brother Georgie who has learning difficulties – I'd never before thought about what happened to men who were fit enough to fight, but couldn't understand what was going on.’

Tilly’s Promise is the story of a young volunteer nurse. For more information on nurses and medical care during the War and how the War affected those at home visit There is a wealth of fascinating information plus an introduction to the book from Linda Newbery.

Reader Reviews

Teens love to read and some of our reader review panel were invited to review this title.   

  • Sophie Bridges, age 11 - 'The reason I like Tilly's Promise by Linda Newbery is because it is very cute how Tilly is very caring for all the people in the ward and cares for them all the same.' Read full review >
  • Belinda Brooke, adult - 'This was a truly lovely read...Although factually accurate and educational in its content, Tilly’s Promise never appears to be concerned with either of those things and so pulls them both off effortlessly.' Read full review >
  • Millie Finbow, age 12 - 'Story of war. Romance story between Harry and Tilly...When I picked the book up I could not put it down. I don’t like reading but this book was a lovely story to get me reading again.' Read full review >
  • Philip Wood, age 12 - 'A touching tale of relationships and emotions during World War I.  A thoroughly enjoyable book.' Read full review >
  • Chloe Pickering, age 10 - 'I thought this book was wonderful and inspiring. A new way of seeing how people reacted to changes the war brought.' Read full review >
  • Rose Heathcote, age 14 - 'I really enjoyed this book and I would highly recommend it to a wide range of readers, particularly those who are studying World War One, as it gives you a insight into the personal experiences of war.' Read full review >
  • Shannon-louise Masters, age 14 -'Tilly's Promise is a great story about war and the ups and downs.' Read full review >


Tilly's Promise by Linda Newbery

Tilly is a young nurse doing her best to help in the war effort. When she hears her brother Georgie must go to the front line in France she is devastated. Georgie isn't like other people - he has learning difficulties and doesn't understand what the war means. Tilly asks her sweetheart Harry to keep Georgie safe. But they soon learn that the nature of war makes any promise hard to keep.

Linda Newbery says: ‘It was one of Siegfried Sassoon's most hard-hitting poems that sparked off Tilly's Promise. Sassoon's simple-minded but happy boy, a powerful symbol of innocence betrayed, became Georgie in my story. For Tilly's own experiences, I drew on Vera Brittain's Testament of Youth, probably the best-known and most influential female perspective on the First World War.’

About the Author

Linda Newbery

Linda Newbery always wanted to be a writer, filling exercise books with stories which she hid in her wardrobe, but only began submitting her work once she became a secondary school teacher. She had her first novel published in 1988 and is now a full-time writer. Linda writes for various age groups and has twice been shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, for The Shell House and Sisterland and in 2006 won the Costa Children’s Book Award for Set in Stone.
Linda lives in a Northamptonshire village with her husband and three cats. She is an active member of the SAS and on the committee of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group of the Society of Authors.

Linda on Linda
When I was a child, dreaming that one day I might be an author, I used to gaze longingly at the N shelves in bookshops and libraries, and imagine my own books parked next to E. Nesbit’s. She’s still there, with her classic stories The Railway Children, Five Children and It, and others. Philip Pullman, nearby, takes up an awful lot of space, but sometimes there’s room for me between them.

As a child I used to do a lot of secret writing in my bedroom. I rarely showed anyone, and certainly not my teachers. At that time I was rather unwisely trying to write complete novels. Later, when exams got in the way, I began writing poetry - because poems could be short!

When I was a teenager, there was no such thing as teenage fiction – you went straight from children’s books to adult books. It wasn’t until much later, when I was training to be an English teacher, that I came across teenage fiction, and excellent writers such as K. M. Peyton, Aidan Chambers and Jill Paton Walsh. Before long I wanted to have a go.

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Book Info


96 pages
Interest Age: From 12 to 14 years


Linda Newbery
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Barrington Stoke Ltd

Publication date

15th January 2014




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