She devoured Bradley’s novel. The story is told through Ada’s eyes and right away we know that Ada and her younger brother Jamie live in abnormal circumstances. Forget that there is the threat of war on the immediate horizon, Ada doesn’t know how old she is and is not allowed to leave her London flat. When the evacuation of children begins, Ada sees an opportunity she could never have anticipated and manages to get herself and her brother sent to the countryside where they are fostered by a reluctant recluse, Susan Smith.
Bibi warned me that the story is sad at first so I was not surprised by the brutality of Ada’s life at the start of the book. What did surprise me is that Bradley does not back away from how years of neglect and abuse would affect Ada. She is not a pleasant person but manages to be utterly sympathetic because the reader understands where her anger is coming from and, as a result, has more patience for her. All of the main characters, in fact, are flawed and written well. Although not overtly stated, it’s easy to see why Susan Smith is unhappy by reading between the lines. Jamie, more indulged than Ada, is a bit of a brat at times but fiercely protective of his sister. All of these elements add to the quality of the story and make me eager to read the sequel, The War I Finally Won.
And yes, my granddaughter is eager to read the sequel as well. I’m patting myself on the back for this one. Glad I pushed my granddaughter and proud she shared this novel with me.