War I Finally Won – book review

The War I Finally Won
by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Historical Fiction
Juvenile Fiction
* * * * Stars (Great!)

Ada and her brother Jaimie are now permanent wards of their guardian, Susan, who took them in when they were evacuated from London.  The first thing Susan does is arrange for Ada to have surgery to correct her clubfoot, which has long been a source of pain and shame for her.  The recovery process is long and boring, but while Ada is healing, Susan makes arrangements for them all to live in a cottage on the Thornton family’s estate (the children’s mother was killed in the bombings, and Susan’s house was also destroyed).  They all have mixed feelings about this – the cottage doesn’t feel like home, and Lady Thornton, who can be decidedly unpleasant, has to move in with them when the British military takes over her estate for an operations base.  Making matters worse, Lord Thornton finds Susan a pupil to tutor (so she can support them all), and the girl, Ruth, is German.  Because they are at WAR with Germany, there’s a strong anti-German sentiment against Ruth, even though she is Jewish and had to flee the country herself.  There are a lot of things that Ada doesn’t understand about religion and the war, but she does recognize in Ruth a fellow horse-lover, and secretly allows Ruth to ride her pony, Butter.  Talking to “the enemy” also gives Ada new ideas and perspectives about the world.  Of course, bad things happen in wartime, and these characters receive their share of misfortune.  This is a heartfelt and sensitive treatment of World War II, and fans of the first installment (The War That Saved My Life) will love this continuation of Ada’s story.

Reviewed by YA Librarian