World War I is in full swing, and various relatives of Highland Hall are being affected by the war. Kate is pregnant, and her husband is treating returning wounded. In the meantime, Kate, Jon, and Kate's sister Penny are the guardians for eight London orphans ranging in age from three to fourteen. After German Zeppelins come and bomb London, Jon decides that Kate, Penny, and the children are to go to Highland Hall. William and his wife, Julia, open the doors of their home and take in the whole group. Jon closes up the house in London and takes a flat near the hospital. He visits as he can, but not very often.
Before the bombing, a friend of Jon's from India, Alex, comes to visit and because he'd been injured in training, needs a place to stay until he goes back to his training. Alex and Penny make a connection and decide to keep in touch. Through their letters, even after Alex has been transferred to France, they begin to deepen their friendship.
Alex is assigned several risky and dangerous missions and through one of the missions is seriously injured. After finding out the extent of his injuries, Alex seems to give up, he gives up his hope, he gives up his desire, and he gives up on God. It is only through the prayers of his friends, the work of his friends, and the perseverance of Penny that Alex comes out of his self-imposed exile.
During the war, men in England of German descent were put into internment camps to work on farms and through the countryside. One of the maids who came to Highland Hall befriends one of the German prisoners. Another of the prisoners is intent on escaping the camp and provides a bit of mystery for the book, but the maid's friend stays in the camp.
Carrie Turansky has taken several subplots and put them together in a cohesive whole. Her characters have a depth that engages the reader. She creates tension with several of the characters and then allows them to work out their tensions--sometimes maturely, but often with childishness. She shows the full gamut of human emotions in the fictional residents of her novel.
This book is very hard to put down, I started it last night and picked it up today after church, and I didn't put it down until after I finished it. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a letter from a dear friend.
My thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah for allowing me to read and review this book.