Across the Barricades by Joan Lingard

Across the Barricades by Joan Lingard is the second in her Kevin and Sadie series, it was first published in 1972.

Although Kevin and Sadie lived just a short distance from each other, they both come from different worlds and so hadn’t seen each other for years when they bumped into each other in Belfast town. In the previous book The Twelfth Day of July they had obviously quite fancied each other, but with Sadie being a Protestant and Kevin a Roman Catholic they couldn’t even be friends.

Now they’ve both left school and are working, so when they realise that they’re still keen on each other they decide to keep their relationship a secret, easier said than done. Kevin ends up getting badly beaten up by his one time best friends, and he loses his job.

Both families are adamant that they’ll have to give each other up and it looks like the end of the road for the couple, but when one of Sadie’s old teachers realises what has been going on he allows them to meet up at his house. He lives in a different part of Belfast, a quiet middle class area, it seems like a safe place to be, but – not for long.

This is a great read, I couldn’t help thinking that at the time it was written it was quite a brave thing to write about.  Things were going from bad to worse in Belfast and Northern Ireland in general, and the violence was moving on to England and even in Scotland it was quite common for the department store that you were shopping in to be evacuated because of a bomb threat. I’m looking forward to reading the next one in this series. Into Exile.