Narrator: Caitlin Greer
Published by Scholastic Audio
Published on 27 October 2009
Genres: 20th Century, Adolescence, United States, Young Adult
Source: my local library
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Murder and intrigue surround a girl in this mystery set in American in the aftermath of WWII
When Evie's father returned home from World War II, the family fell back into its normal life pretty quickly. But Joe Spooner brought more back with him than just good war stories. When movie-star handsome Peter Coleridge, a young ex-GI who served in Joe's company in postwar Austria, shows up, Evie is suddenly caught in a complicated web of lies that she only slowly recognizes. She finds herself falling for Peter, ignoring the secrets that surround him . . . until a tragedy occurs that shatters her family and breaks her life in two.
This was a great little book, mostly because of how effectively the audience is immersed into the point of view of a love-struck fifteen year old girl finding her place in the world, who doesn’t really understand everything that is going on because the world of adults is confusing.
I’m not normally drawn to war era or post-war era books due to personal preference, but I was riding high on the 1920s-set Diviners series by Libba Bray, so I thought I’d jump forward a few decades into the gorgeously fashionable post-war 1940s and check out how another Evie was handling things.
To be short, she wasn’t handling things.
Fifteen is such a precious age. Halfway between childhood and adulthood, the beginning to young adulthood, too young in my opinion to be sexually active but old enough to yearn for intimacy with a lover. Evie falls in love with a 23 year old comrade of her father’s from the war, and she knows it’s wrong due to the significant age difference, but it happens anyway. She’s fifteen!
When tragedy strikes, Evie has to decide how she’s going to handle the suddenly very grown-up situation she’s thrust into. Not only that, but I adored watching Evie grow up over the course of the novel, from thinking that it’s not a big deal that a Jewish acquaintance is bullied by her so called best-friend (that relationship in itself was beautiful to watch unravel purely from Evie’s point of view), to seeing anti-Semitism directly in front of her and realising it’s not OK, that’s why there was a war, to stop that and worse.
I was so enthralled by how richly the characters were built, even the secondary characters. Everyone had their own motivations and backstories, and that affected how they acted and reacted in certain settings. A lot of this was beyond Evie’s understanding, because she is naïve. She doesn’t see how her mother, so effortlessly beautiful, is trying to keep her a child. She doesn’t see all of the sly innuendo that readers pick up on, doesn’t string together events like readers will, or pick up on all of the subtext.
Even at the end of the novel, I’m still not sure what actually happened on that fateful day. That’s left up to the reader, and that is Blundell’s gift to us.