Can you help me find an old book with an unknown title?

I’ve been haunted most of my life by a book I’ve never been able to identify. In the final year of junior school our teacher had an operation and while she was off recovering we moved in with the class across the hall. They were reading a brilliant book together, taking it in turns to read sections aloud. I loved it, but our teacher came back before we finished and in the end-of-term kerfuffle I forgot about the story. Later, when I remembered, we’d left the school and the book and its author were lost in time, like tears in the rain.

It’s about a boy who spends the summer holidays staying with his best friend’s family in their isolated house on a beach. There are legends of pirates in the area, and the boys discover they’re both dreaming the same dreams in which they’re taken back in time and actually meet the pirates. They take sides, the hero on the side of law and order and his now ex-friend in with the pirates. They fall out in real life, but try to keep their mutual antagonism hidden from the family.

That’s as far as I got. Anyone recognise it?

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17 Responses to Can you help me find an old book with an unknown title?

  1. I don’t; but I have two suggestions. Actually three.

    First, check with the school. Even if the teacher isn’t there anymore, the dean/principal/headmaster is likely to be familiar, or another of the teachers of the similar age group.

    Second, I’d ask a used bookseller. If you don’t have a good one, let me know; there’s a guy here in Evanston that runs an antique bookshop that I could ask. He seems to know everything.

    Third, have you talked to your local librarian? The reference librarians I know would LOVE a puzzle like this one because usually the only questions they get are stuff like “Where’s the bathroom?” and “Can I photocopy this book for my report without attribution and claim it as my own?” ~grin~

    • David Bridger says:

      Thanks for your suggestions! I should think the first one will be timed out, but I’ll certainly try the others.

  2. I disagree. Folks who teach in that age group like to know good books, which never go out of fashion.

    What age group, specifically? I’m still in contact with my fourth grade teacher and can ask her; she’s a book hound. She might know.

  3. Red Fiona says:

    Permission to redistribute? I’ve got a couple of friends who might know.

  4. angel Graham says:

    I know a guy, he’s into all kinds of books, used to sell antique and hard to find books. Let me see what I can find out. I will share this with him. He may find it.

  5. Og Bashan says:

    I’ve kept digging, but I haven’t found the exact book that matches your memory.

    It sounds as if it might have been inspired by one of John Masefield’s children’s books such as Jim Davis or Dead Ned.

    It would help if you had some idea about when it was first written. 40s? 50s? or 1890s?

    • David Bridger says:

      Thank you. I really appreciate your efforts on my behalf.

      Regarding the date of its publication, all I know is that it was in print by 1968.

      • Og Bashan says:

        I think I’ve found it: David Severn – Dream Gold

        You can Google it to check.

        The bad news is that I looked for a copy on Abebooks.co.uk and there were only 2. The cheapest was nearly £50!

        • David Bridger says:

          That’s it! That’s the book I’ve been thinking about all these years!

          Thank you so much! You’re kind, and generous, and you have made me very happy.

          Thank you! :)

  6. angel says:

    What did I tell ya? I figured if anyone could find it, it would be Ogg! Glad you found it. Thanks Ogg!

  7. Pingback: Someone so kind, so generous, she’s taken my breath away - David Bridger

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