This novel continues the story of the McAlister family begun in No Ocean Too Wide. (You can see my review of that novel here.) The first novel told the story of how the McAlister children were some of thousands of British Home Children taken from their homeland and sent to Canada. In this novel we find out what happened to Grace, the youngest of the McAlisters. We also follow the story of Emma, sweetheart of Garth McAlister. After his experience as an indentured Home Child, Garth had joined the war in Europe and Emma had lost touch with him.
Turansky gives readers a good idea of what life was like for the British Home Children. Some were mistreated as we found out in the first novel in the series. Some were taken in by wealthy couples, as we see here. Grace had been adopted by a wealthy family but they kept her past hidden for a decade. Home Children were characterized as troublesome and no family known in society would want others to know their daughter was one. Grace remembered her childhood experiences and longed to know of her biological family.
Turansky tells readers in an Author's Note that more than ten percent of Canadians are descendants of British Home Children so this novel provides insight into the history of many in Canada today. We see the challenges faced by the emigrants after they fulfilled their indentured service and had to find a life of their own as adults.
There are several themes explored in this novel. One if the importance of friendship. Another is the way people will categorize a segment of society, such as the Home Children. Emma is suspected of a crime over other possible suspects just because she is a Home Child. Another theme is the difference in parenting styles. Grace ultimately experiences a family where mistakes became learning experiences rather than failures bringing shame. Another theme explores how God has answers arranged for prayers before they are even spoken.
This is a good novel for readers who enjoy one centering on an important historical event. Turansky's writing style makes this novel an engaging one telling an important historical story of family commitment and the support of friends. You'll experience a mystery and a little romance too. While it reads well on its own with enough backstory, do read the first in the series to appreciate the entire story of the Home Children.
You can start reading the novel here.
You can watch a short video about the British Home Children here.
My rating: 4/5 stars.
Carrie Turansky is an award-winning author of more than twenty novels and novellas. She has won the ACFW Carol Award, the Holt Medallion, and the International Digital Award. She loved traveling to England to research her latest Edwardian novels, including No Ocean Too Wide, Across the Blue, and the Edwardian Brides series. Her novels have received starred reviews from Library Journal. They have also been translated into several languages and enjoyed by readers around the world. You can find out more at http://carrieturansky.com/.
Multnomah, 368 pages.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book from the publisher. My comments are an independent and honest review.
(My star ratings: 5-I love it, 4-I like it, 3-It's OK, 2-I don't like it, 1-I hate it.)