It is the summer of 1940, and all of England fears an invasion by Hitler’s army. Norah lies in bed listening to the anxious voices of her parents downstairs.
Then Norah is told that she and her brother, Gavin, are being sent to Canada. The voyage across the ocean is exciting, but at the end of it Norah is miserable. The rich woman who takes them in prefers Gavin to her, the children at school taunt her, and as the news from England becomes worse, she longs for home.
As Norah begins to make friends, she discovers a surprising responsibility that helps her to accept her new country.
A wrenching separation from her parents is only the first of the difficulties that Norah must face when she and her younger brother Gavin are sent from England to Canada to escape the Nazi bombing. The childrens' wealthy hostess, Mrs. Ogilvie, watches over Gavin with excessive diligence, trying to fashion him into the image of her own dead son. School provides no solace, for Norah's Canadian schoolmates interpret her self-confidence as arrogance and have little to do with her. Gradually, however, the girl finds friends and even succeeds in forging an understanding with Mrs. Ogilvie. Because Norah's emotions are explained more often than shown, her story is robbed of immediacy. Also, some readers may feel that Mrs. Ogilvie's intriguingly sinister obsession with Gavin is a bit too tidily resolved. Still, Pearson's thorough grasp of the period,rather than her gently wandering storyline, gives the novel a pleasing richness. Ages 10-14.