Friends and Traitors

Friends and Traitors

By Author / Illustrator

Helen Peters, David Dean


Historical Fiction

Age range(s)



Nosy Crow Ltd




Paperback / softback




Some secrets are just too dangerous to know... A gripping World War II story about how two girls foil an aristocratic plot to bring down the government and hand the country to the Nazis...

When Sidney Dashworth's school is evacuated to a huge stately home in the countryside, she thinks she's going to spend the war being very bored. At least her brother must be having fun, flying his Spitfire all over France! But soon Sidney and a housemaid called Nancy discover that the Earl is up to no good. He has secret nighttime meetings with mysterious men from the government and seems to be hiding something sinister on his land. At first it's all terribly thrilling, investigating by creeping about at night and finding secret passageways, but soon everything takes a deadly turn. Sidney's brother goes missing over France and the war hits home with a terrible reality. The Earl and his evil plotters must be stopped, or nothing will ever be the same again...

Find out more in this video by author Helen Peters



Friends and Traitors by Helen Peters is an enthralling WWII story about two girls who embark on a mission to take down a member of the aristocracy who is a traitor to his country. Sidney Dashworth's school has just been evacuated and relocated to Stanbrook House - the home of Lord Evesham, the new Earl. It is here that she meets a house maid called Nancy and together they quickly take a strong dislike to Lord Evesham. Whilst wandering the grounds one day, Nancy overhears an alarming conversation and Sidney sees some strange movements in the middle of the night that sparks concern. Both girls decide to work together to investigate what is really going on at Stanbrook. It is not until the night when both girls are in the Long Gallery that they realise that Lord Evesham is not what he seems and that the fate of Britain winning the war could be comprised by his Lordship's actions as a traitor. Nancy decides that they must expose Lord Evesham as a traitor before he can betray his country to the Nazis. They must find the evidence and opportunity to expose Lord Evesham in a way that will be taken seriously.

The characters in this story have very relatable storylines and the author has shown how assumptions can sometimes be deceptive. The girls come from different backgrounds and have different privileges in life which is highlighted by people's opinions throughout the story. I like how the author has tried to break down the barriers between the classes by bringing the girls together to help each other fight the common enemy.

This book would be an excellent class read to support the teaching of WWII. It would also be a good book to use for different genres of writing around a WWII theme.

272 pages / Reviewed by Hayley Summerfield, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


Nancy arrives at Stanbrook House to take up her post as a housemaid, just as preparations are being made for the arrival of a girls' school which is being evacuated from the Sussex coast. She quickly takes a dislike to the 'young ladies' who she considers to be spoilt little snobs. Sidney Dashworth is one of the evacuees and as the new girl, is struggling to fit in with her classmates. When she notices some strange goings-on and decides to investigate, Sidney realises that Nancy also has her suspicions about the Lord Evesham and his activities and the two soon find themselves working together in the face of danger as they try to expose his evil deeds.

Friends and Traitors is a great read on so many levels. It has all the classic 'school story' elements (apart from sporting events!) with Sidney struggling to find her place as the new girl and Lucinda Gore-Withers making her a very dislikeable foe. Despite their removal from their actual school building, the girls still have to endure their lessons, receive order marks or merits, wear sensible shoes and behave like young ladies at all times!

The story is also rich in social and historical detail. Set in WWII, Nancy and Sidney are separated by their social class. Initially, Sidney thinks being a maid must be good fun - Nancy has her freedom and is earning whilst just flicking a duster around. She has no idea of the intense workload of a domestic servant nor that Nancy's wages are instantly consumed by family commitments.

The story seamlessly includes details which add to the historical context - how Nancy's father was affected by WW1, the internment of friendly enemy aliens, etc - including how those from the upper classes were able to get away with things which 'normal' people could not. Lord Evesham thinks more of his priceless collection of china than he does of his servants.

A gripping mystery unfolds as the two unlikely allies discover the secrets of Stanbrook House and find a way of making their voices heard and foiling the plot they have uncovered. Friends and Traitors is an excellent read - every bit as enjoyable as Helen's other books for this age range, Anna at War, Evie's Ghost, The Secret Hen House Theatre and The Farm Beneath the Water. Perfect as a class read aloud or a guided reading text, this is one not to be missed!

272 pages / Reviewed by Sue Wilsher, teacher

Suggested Reading Age 9+


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