An enduring love is borne of sporadic, fleeting encounters in this British novelist's first YA effort. The horrors of WW II already loom when this story, spanning 1936-39, begins at a progressive English school. European students mingle with Britishers and Americans in an unusual environment of open education. Narrator Daniel, an unruly, intelligent teen, is tamed by the school's policy of nurturing rather than punishing, finding challenge and discipline in musical composition and inspiration in a young Viennese--Esther. Daniel triumphs with a first performance of his music, but he cannot prevent separation from Esther: he will go to his father in America to escape the war, while Esther must return to Austria, where her parents are fighting the fascists. Lyrical writing builds the love Esther and Daniel share to a crescendo as they experience the yearning looks, misunderstandings, and clumsy missteps of early adolescence. Distinctive for its portrayal of gifted youth under the threat of war, a thoughtful book for discerning readers.