It is their solicitor who lands on the idea of having the children join in the evacuation of London, pretend to leave their parents behind, and settle with a host family in the countryside. Preposterous as it might sound, perhaps they will uncover a suitable foster home? A place where, as the children put it, they might find someone who thinks that they "hang the moon."
Reality is much harder of course and the children find themselves shuttled from one unsuitable place to another. Faced with different types of abuse and neglect, the one bright spot in their lives is a kindly librarian, Mrs. Müller. The children adore her and she reciprocates, but she cannot host them. She has been judged an unsuitable guardian due to the questionable loyalty of her husband, a German national who left her and disappeared at the outbreak of the War.
The orphan genre is truly a golden part of children's literature and this one pays homage to the greats. It's a predictable formula but one that is very effective. It combines adventure as the children face peril and yet emerge happily in the end in the arms of a loving family. The emotional pay off is strong. In this particular case, period detail about the evacuation of children into the countryside gives us some meaty subject matter as well. The result is an enjoyable and memorable read. Recommended.
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