Thursday, July 30, 2020

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley is the sequel to The War That Saved My Life, which I reviewed, here:

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

And, because it's a sequel, there may be some spoilers, so I'd advise you to skip this review if you're concerned that I might give away a plot point or two from the first book. 

In The War I Finally Won, this middle grade WWII fiction continues the story of Ada, her brother, Jamie, and Susan. In case you don't want to click through to the first review, just a quick reminder of what happens in The War That Saved My Life: Ada is stuck at home with a cruel mother who occasionally locks her into the cabinet and won't let her leave the apartment, even to attend school, embarrassed about Ada's club foot. But, when her little brother Jamie is evacuated to the country, Ada finds a way to tag along and they end up with a depressed woman, Susan, who rises to the challenge of dealing with a traumatized child who has not attended a single day of school.

In The War I Finally Won, Susan has become the children's permanent guardian, Ada has surgery to fix her club foot, and the family has moved after losing their home to a direct hit by a bomb. Now that they know their mother has been killed, Ada is struggling with whether or not Susan will abandon them and upset by the fact that Jamie has begun to call Susan "Mum". There are some other plot points I don't want to give away because I think it's best reading them as they unfold but, as in the first book, there's a good deal about horses. In The War That Saved My Life, a horse named Butters figures heavily into the plot about Ada's healing.

The War I Finally Won is a very plot-driven story packed with emotional scenes that gives you that wonderful "you were there" sensation. There are so many moving scenes, in fact, that I pretty much cried my way through the book. At one point, I was reading in bed and I cried enough that I had to sit up because I was soaking the collar of my shirt. I consider that a positive. I like a deeply affecting book.

Highly recommended - It is necessary to read The War That Saved My Life, first, because The War I Finally Won is a continuation of the story in that book and much of what's in the latter will not make sense if you haven't read the first book. Both are excellent. While I didn't think the characters sounded British when I read their dialogue, that was the only indication that the author is American. Otherwise, the time and place were clearly thoroughly researched.

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