In the sequel to The Romeo and Juliet Code (2011), 12-year-old Flissy’s World War II adventures continue.
Flissy is living with her grandmother, aunt and father, Gideon, as her mother and stepfather (who is—complicatedly—also her father’s brother) have disappeared while spying in Europe. In a voice that is somehow both charmingly lyrical and also notably authentic, Flissy relates the events on the homefront, as foster cousin Derek, just a year older and—she believes—the love of her life, attempts to track down his father. Unfortunately, a man claiming to be him shows up, but it’s perfectly clear to Flissy, who’s sworn to secrecy, that the man is a fraud. Finally, in despair over the wreckage of her family, Flissy runs screaming into the nighttime sea, only to be saved from certain death by Gideon—an epiphanic moment. Even after the fraudulent-father plotline is resolved in a suspenseful climax that comes only midway through, the tale goes on. When her mother finally returns after being rescued by Gideon, who’s then lost in the fog of war, Flissy has much to work out with the woman who has become a stranger to her. In an attractively depicted Maine coastal setting, her relationship with Derek evolves, she mends fences with her mother, and she waits for a resolution of her father’s and stepfather’s situations. While realistic and employing lovely language, the slow, deliberate pacing sometimes diminishes the overall effect.
Patient readers will nevertheless enjoy this combination spy novel/coming-of-age story. (Historical fiction. 11-16)