Recently I wrote about The War That Saved My Life. This time I will tell you about The War I Finally Won. Both books are by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and they are terrific. Find them in the children’s chapter book section of the Pine Bush Area Public Library. They are as good as a Time Machine for taking you out of yourself, and back to the early 1940s in England.
In The War I Finally Won, World War II is heating up. Ada and Jamie are evacuees from the East End of London. Susan Smith’s little cottage in Kent has been destroyed in a bombing raid. Lady Thorton remembers that the gatekeeper’s cottage is standing empty, so now they have a place to live. They are settling in when Lady Thorton shows up on their doorstep. Thorton Hall has been commandeered by the British military, and Lady Thorton must move in with Susan, Ada and Jamie. Whether they want her, or not.
Lady Thorton is not an easy person to live with. She becomes worse when Lord Thorton brings Ruth, a German girl, to live with them and to learn advanced maths from Susan. This goes over like a lead balloon. Lady Thorton does not realize that there is a difference between German Jews who escaped from Germany by the skin of their teeth, and German soldiers. She has no tolerance and things get prickly.
Lady Thorton has sent her daughter Maggie to a miserable boarding school in the North of England. Her son Jonathan is a fighter pilot with the RAF. Lady Thorton has a lot on her plate, but then, so does Ada who is the hero of the story. Watch what happens when Jonathan sneaks home during vacation, and Maggie, Ada and Ruth join him for an early morning horse ride. One of the horses is startled and runs away and— woops, can’t tell you any more. Then there’s the time Ada and Lady Thorton are fire-watching on the roof of the church, and an enemy plane is shot down.
“It fell in a long, burning arc. It roared straight past the steeple, missing us by feet, not miles, and crashed with a horrible squeal of twisted metal and a shattering of bricks and glass right into the village main street.”
You must get this book and read it for yourself. It’s a good complex book, with multiple levels to it. On the back, it says “Ages 9 to 12” but as a grownup, I find it completely enthralling. You read it, and the book feels like it’s happening to you. Follow Ada, and find out about The War I Finally Won.