In the companion to Under A War-Torn Sky (2003), 14-year-old Charles and his 10-year-old brother, Wesley, feel stranded in the United States after having fled the London Blitz.
The Ratcliff farm in Virginia is a far cry from London, but the Bishop boys are safe from nightly bombs and have survived an ocean crossing fraught with the danger of lurking Nazi submarines. Charles is making the best of his new life with school, girls and football, but Wesley is wretched. He’s homesick, nightmares of firebombs disturb his sleep, and he’s being picked on by Ron, the Ratcliffs’ middle son. The theme of outsiders fitting in grows complicated as Wesley befriends an African-American boy and learns the ways of segregation in Virginia at the time. His image of cowboys and Indians doesn’t hold up when he meets Paul Johns, who is Chickahominy and lives in a regular house, not a tepee. And the German prisoners of war working the Ratcliff farm, Wesley and Charles learn, can’t be lumped together as evil Nazis; some aren’t even Nazis. An extensive afterword fills in the historical context, though no bibliography is included.
Likable protagonists and a fascinating historical backdrop combine for a story well-told. (Historical fiction. 10-14)