Norah, an English "war guest" living with the wealthy Ogilvie family in Toronto, can hardly wait for August. She'll spend it at the Ogilvie's lavish cottage in Muskoka—a whole month of freedom, swimming, adventures with her "cousins"...
But this isn't an ordinary summer. It's 1943, and the war is still going on. Sometimes Norah can't even remember what her parents look like—she hasn't seen them in three years. And she has turned thirteen, which means life seems to be getting more complicated.
Then a distant Ogilvie cousin, Andrew, arrives. He is nineteen, handsome, intelligent, and Norah thinks she may be falling in love for the first time. But Andrew has his own problems: he doesn't want to fight in the war, and yet he knows it's what his family and friends expect of him.
What the two of them learn from each other makes for a gentle, moving story, the second book in a trilogy that began with the award-winning The Sky Is Falling.
This novel--the continuing adventures of Norah, a prickly but engaging English girl--takes up nearly three years after the events chronicled in The Sky Is Falling. Norah and her younger brother Gavin continue to live in the home of wealthy Toronto matron Mrs. Ogilvie--with whom they are likely to remain until WW II comes to an end. Norah, now 13, is torn between wanting to grow up and wishing that she could remain a child; not even at Gairloch--the rambling summer dwelling shared by Mrs. Ogilvie's extended family--can Norah escape backwards into the unconflicted world of childhood. In fact, events at Gairloch push Norah even closer to adulthood: it is there that she first falls in love, with Mrs. Ogilvie's grand-nephew Andrew, 19. Narrated in language that is more sturdy than anything else, this coming-of-age story holds few surprises. With the exception of Norah, the characters are fairly wooden and one-dimensional. Pearson's real strength, however, lies in her ability to convey the texture of a specific time and place; Gairloch, in particular, is so vividly and lovingly evoked that it is almost possible to smell the pine trees. Ages 10-14.