Wednesday, June 8, 2016
Secrets of a Charmed Life
Lexile = ??
Loved loved loved this book! About a month ago I discovered this author and read Fall of Marigolds. Meissner has a talent of weaving historical fiction with actual events and simultaneously telling a modern tale.
This "charming" tale begins as the tragic story of two sisters, separated by many years, and mostly neglected by their mother. Emmy Downtree is 15-years-old and dreams of designing wedding dresses. She secures a job at a small bridal shop in London and it appears her dreams are beginning to take shape. Then, because of fears of a Nazi attack on London, all "children" are evacuated to the countryside. Emmy wants to stay. After all, she is nearly an adult and is certainly living an adult life. But there is her little sister. Julia relies on Emmy and so they go. The cottage where they are placed as foster children is a respite from the fears of war. But Emmy's only desire is to return. Now that she knows that Julia is safe and loved, Emmy decides to secretly return to London.
Where does the modern part of this enter in? Well, the story is narrated by Isabel McFarland, a very old woman currently living in the same rural cottage that Emmy and Julia were evacuated to. When interviewed by a student seeking a story of the London Blitz (when the feared attack on London actually happened), she begins her story with, "My name is not Isabel McFarland."
Can't tell you more. This is a heartbreaking story of missed opportunities and survival in times of war. Loved loved loved it!