Kate Albus has penned a World War II story, A Place to Hang the Moon, that engages the reader magnificently. Three orphans lose their only relative, their wealthy, cold and distant grandmother. Then their lawyer and former housekeeper send them with other children to find host families in the English countryside. It’s 1940, just before Nazi bombs start to fall. Can they find a forever family in this process?

It’s the personalities of these three children that draw the reader in. William, 12, tries his best to be the parent the other two need, succeeding some of the time. Edmund, 11, just can’t keep his mouth shut and draws trouble like a magnet. Anna, 9, seeks consolation from her brothers when things are trying.

The lawyer and housekeeper ask them to find a suitable family, but not reveal that they are orphans (with some inherited money) until the time is right.

Their first host family contains boys who are twins, twelve years old, who really don’t want them there. Things go downhill slowly at first. But Edmund can’t resist leaving a dead snake in one of the twins’ beds…

The next host situation turns out to be even more trying: a young mother with too many babies needs their help and has few resources to provide them food and shelter. Meanwhile, booklovers that they are, they make friends with the town librarian, someone who has issues of her own with the townspeople.

Will they find a home?

The page-turner tale is told in an old-fashioned style with a narrator who reports thoughts and feelings of all three. This is a risky technique in this day and age, when authors generally stay reporting the thoughts and feelings of one main character to draw readers in close and keep them turning pages. But somehow, Ms. Albus succeeds with the narrator technique where others have failed. It’s a rousing good story, with telling details born of lots of research. It’s definitely not boring, and there are no controversial subjects included.

I give it five stars: *****

For an interview with the author and audio review, visit our Youtube channel, Bringing Up Booklovers.

Find out more at the author website, KateAlbus.com

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@Barrie Summy

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