The War I Finally Won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I loved the book that preceeded this one, The War That Saved My Life, but I was a little ambivalent about a sequel as they so often fail to live up to expectations. I am happy to report that was not the case this time, and I loved this book every bit as much as the first one.
The story picks up right where the first one left off, with Susan having guardianship of Ada and her younger brother Jaime, saving them from their abusive mother. Ada finally has surgery to correct her clubbed foot, and is now able to walk without crutches, and even run! While in the hospital for surgery, they receive word that Ada and Jaimie's biological mother has been killed in the latest blitzkrieg.
Ada's feelings about her mother's death are very complicated, ranging from numbness and indifference, to relief that her mother can't hurt them anymore, to fear of how that changes their situation. In this story Ada continues her struggle to learn how to love and be loved, and how to stop feeling afraid and trust others. There are many changes as the war progresses, resulting in Susan, Ada, and Jaimie sharing a cottage with Lady Thornton (and at times the rest of the Thorntons), and a young Jewish girl whose family managed to escape from Germany. We see much more of the war in the this story, and the horrible toll it took on the community.
This is a beautiful story about opening up and learning to love and to trust, and of people helping and supporting each other to get through even the most difficult circumstances. While the message is overall uplifting, there are definitely some parts that might cause some tears. I would recommend this obviously to those who read the first book, and I would recommend both books to those who like stories about overcoming difficult challenges, and complex feelings and relationships.
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