The sequel to the 2016 Newbery Honor Book The War that Saved My Life continues the story of Ada whose mother hated her because she was born with a clubfoot and locked her away.
This book begins with Ada in the hospital finally getting surgery to repair her clubfoot. Susan, her adopted mother, is by her side as is her brother, Jaime. The surgery is successful and after a few months Ada gets to go home. Only their home got bombed so now they are living in a cottage owned by Lady and Lord Thorton whose daughter, Maggie, is Ada’s best friend.
Ada can now walk almost normally. She can ride her horse, Butter. She can lead a normal life. Only the times are not normal. This is World War II and the war is raging all around them in England. Food is rationed. Gas is rationed. All unnecessary travel is discouraged. Bomb raids are a constant threat.
Still, Susan, Jaime, and Ada manage to lead a decent life. However, the government takes over Lady Thorton’s home for war purposes, leaving her to move in with them in the cottage. Lord Thorton is doing top secret work for the British government. When he learns that Susan has a degree in Maths from Oxford, he gives her a Jewish German girl named Ruth to tutor.
Everyone does not trust Ruth who had to flee Nazi Germany because she is Jewish. Eventually, she manages to fit in and becomes almost a sister to Ada.
This book features close family members dying in the war, Susan very sick with pneumonia, and the girls left to discover themselves in this war chaos.
Excellent historical read, dealing with profound war topics such as the Holocaust and death and the whys of war. Yet, generosity and heroism shows through in the simplest human daily acts that will warm your heart. Highly recommended but read The War that Saved My Life first for context and so this book will make sense.