In this sequel to The War that Saved My Life, Ada Smith has surgery to fix her club foot. But the surgery was the easy part; getting over the trauma of the years of shame and captivity wrought by her cruel mother is harder. When her mother is killed in the Blitz, her feelings are even more complicated. Accepting that she is safe from her mother and loved by Susan Smith, her adoptive mother, doesn't come easy--particularly when safety is far from guaranteed in World War II England. As she struggles with her own demons, she realizes that she is not the only one struggling. The close quarters brought about by the war also bring Ada to a new definition of family--one she may finally be able to accept.
To say I love these books is an understatement; this sequel was just as good as the first book. Ada is a character you want to thrive, in spite of her faults, and Susan is so wonderfully patient in the face of Ada's difficulties--even while dealing with her own. Bradley presents the realities of World War II in a straightforward way, without getting too graphic about some of the horrors--just the right level for a middle grade audience. I'm not sure where the story could go from here, but I'd love a third in the series, just to spend more time with these characters.
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When Ada’s clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she’s not what her mother said she was—damaged, deranged, crippled mentally as well as physically. She’s not a daughter anymore, either. What is she?
World War II continues, and Ada and her brother, Jamie, are living with their loving legal guardian, Susan, in a borrowed cottage on the estate of the formidable Lady Thorton—along with Lady Thorton herself and her daughter, Maggie. Life in the crowded cottage is tense enough, and then, quite suddenly, Ruth, a Jewish girl from Germany, moves in. A German? The occupants of the house are horrified. But other impacts of the war become far more frightening. As death creeps closer to their door, life and morality during wartime grow more complex. Who is Ada now? How can she keep fighting? And who will she struggle to save?