A young teen flees London for the States only to find she cannot escape the far-reaching clutches of war.
Thirteen-year-old Beatrice is from an upper-crust family in London. When World War II breaks out, her family sends her to New Mexico under the care of Clem, a nurse. Living in a working-class household, Beatrice brandishes her newly acquired housekeeping skills with pride while hanging out with her friend Arabella. She has also developed a crush on Esteban, a classmate and the son of the housekeeper. On the eve of her birthday, news of the bombing of Pearl Harbor shatters her peace. Clem is summoned to Washington, D.C., to train nurses for war, and Beatrice finds herself living with Arabella and her drama-ridden family. A new classmate, Francis, also whispers of a camp being built nearby meant to imprison Japanese Americans, accused of being spies for Japan. Fearful of conflict, Beatrice must find ways to navigate friendships, her increasingly complex living situation, and growing racial tensions in her community. Beatrice and the majority of characters present white. Esteban and his family are Latinx, and Japanese American Mr. Haiyoko makes an appearance, introducing himself to Beatrice with a cultural gaffe. Characters are one-dimensional, and plot inconsistencies like Beatrice’s extravagant meals despite wartime scarcity stand out.
An intriguing premise based on true events fizzles in execution. (Historical fiction. 11-14)