British novelist Banks presents her wartime memories in novel form.
In the summer of 1940, Lindy Hanks, her mother, and her slightly older cousin Cameron travel from England to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, to stay for the duration of the war. Initially not allowed to receive money from home (England feared a loss of needed resources), they are fostered with the Laines, a childless couple who welcomes them with uncomfortable enthusiasm. Lindy enters sixth grade while Cameron is elevated to high school. They enjoy their first Halloween, learn to skate, and spend their first summer at a remote lake. Lindy's mum, however, has to fight off Mr. Laine's unwanted advances. They don't hear much from Lindy's father, a physician much occupied during the Blitz, and all of them suffer from homesickness and the feeling that they ought to be doing something to help the war. When Cameron learns that his parents are divorcing, he tries to run away home—and, in doing so, finds enough purpose for all of them. Though written as fiction, with dialogue and a novel's pacing, this has the feel of a memoir. Twice Banks breaks from Lindy's perspective to keep events in order, and her brief postscript brings the small family through the end of the war. Banks' clear affection for her foster country shines through Lindy's equally real anxiety.
Lovingly written, the story opens a window to a long-ago world. (Historical fiction. 8-12)