An exceptionally moving story of triumph against all odds set during World War 2, from the acclaimed author of Jefferson's Sons and for fans of Number the Stars.
Nine-year-old Ada has never left her one-room apartment. Her mother is too humiliated by Ada's twisted foot to let her outside. So when her little brother Jamie is shipped out of London to escape the war, Ada doesn't waste a minute - she sneaks out to join him.
So begins a new adventure of Ada, and for Susan Smith, the woman who is forced to take the two kids in. As Ada teaches herself to ride a pony, learns to read, and watches for German spies, she begins to trust Susan - and Susan begins to love Ada and Jamie. But in the end, will their bond be enough to hold them together through wartime? Or will Ada and her brother fall back into the cruel hands of their mother?
This masterful work of historical fiction is equal parts adventure and a moving tale of family and identity - a classic in the making.
©2014 Kimberly Brubaker Bradley (P)2014 Listening Library
"With her skillful presentation of true-to-life characters, Entwistle's narration is totally compelling." (AudioFile)
Normally I wouldn't write a review for a book with so many lovely reviews already posted, but there is a chance that somebody will read just one more review, and make the decision to read this fantastic book. The winner of the 2016 Newbery Honor, as well as winner of the 2016 Schneider Family award and a NY Times bestseller, The War That Saved My Life is marketed as a *Young Readers* book, yet ranks in the top 10 of my 2016 *best of* reads. Of course, this is a book I never would have selected without the guidance of my watchful and wise librarian sister. A PhD librarian in charge of children's and young adult purchases for a major library, I like to say she keeps me abreast of the best, and my own library has dozens of children's books when the youngest person in my home is 10 years out of college. This is a book that enriches any reader.
TWTSML is historical fiction that is gripping, heartwarming, and empowering. While set during WWII, the story is more of a personal challenge with the horrible specter of Hitler's Nazi regime hovering over like a dark and deadly threat. I've talked with readers that felt it was sentimental and sugary, but have to disagree. Though I did at times think of Heidi, National Velvet, and Shirley Temple, this is more sophisticated and psychological. The writing is flawless and delicate telling the story without mawkishness, and without delving into the atrocities and intricacies of WWII. Ada is a ten yr. old girl that overcomes many cruelties in life before her own strength is given the chance to be exercised. Many of the situations could be used as inspirational sparks for today's young women, highlighting courage, honesty, and determination. It takes something as horrendous as the war and threat of losing her home and life for her to stand against certain abuse and find the courage and strength to be heard. The subtleties, especially when understood from an adult's knowledge of the world, and of parenting, are exquisite blanks spaces that call out to the reader: a look into a mirror at hair that has never been brushed; a pretty dress that feels too pretty to be worn; a firm and comforting hold. The understanding we have as adults gives this story a depth that children won't know. Here it is no cliché to say beautiful and heartwarming.
[*Note: For young readers, it might help to give them some history of WWII. My own granddaughter didn't have much knowledge of that part of history, never having discussed Hitler or the children that were sent away from home, "out of harm's way."]
Besides incessant listening to audiobooks, I also read on my Kindle at night, birdwatch, garden (roses, daylilies), and do genealogy.
I knew I would love this audiobook even before I started it. I was transported to another place and time, and I couldn't stop listening. The time flew by and before I knew it, I had finished this gem. I just might have to go back and read it again!
This book is suitable for folks of all ages. In summary, it tells the story of Ada, a 10 year old girl living in London with her mother and brother at the start of World War II. Ada's mother is hateful and crass and is embarrassed by Ada's clubfoot. As a result, Ada is kept in the house, treated as a subhuman, and as a result, thought by the neighbors to be mentally deficient.
It is no wonder that Ada and her 6 year old brother sneak out of the house and join the other local children who are being transported to the safety of the countryside to avoid the anticipated London bombings. It is in the country, with initially reluctant caretaker, Susan Smith, that Ada begins to find her self-worth and see the world for the first time. Susan herself is not without problems, being something of an outsider like Ada. That is why it is so magical that Ada and Susan found each other. There were times that I just wanted to hug Susan (and of course, Ada, too, for different reasons.)
Jayne Entwistle provides an expert narration capturing the real spirit of Ada. All in all, this was a wonderful, magical book. I am so glad I found it!
I don't usually read much fiction, but do enjoy a great story with an excellent narrator. I would give this audiobook 10 stars if I could. The story is both warm and heartbreaking and the narrator is perfect. I just finished it and am close to tears because I enjoyed it so much and never wanted it to end.
This story and the performance by Jayne Entwistle make me feel a little badly about all the other books I've given five stars. This one deserves every little point on every single star!
I did not read the book, I only listened to it. But the performance by Jayne Entwistle was, Excellent!
Kimberly Bradley was brilliant and masterful dealing in words with the emotional bondage Ada had to fight through to enter into the freedom of love. Excellent.
All of them! Jamie, Susan, Ada, Mam -- All unique and beautifully performed.
Absolutely. But since life has to be lived, it was always a joy to listen to it on my way to work and home and walking.
I recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a beautifully written story and an excellent performance
I thought this was a great book! It was so touching. Hard to start reading, but once you get into it you never want to stop. I was up all night listening! Beautiful ending, wish there was prequel describing the surgery.
Loved this sweet, heartbreaking story ! Although catagorized as a children's book, it isn't juvenile at all. Suitable for anyone who loves a story told from a child's perspective. Superlative narration.
What an excellent book! Perhaps the best I've ever read/heard in terms of telling a story from a child's perspective, and communicating both the psychology of an abused child and growth and recovery from abuse. Without sticky sentimentality. Found it from a promotion as a good "family read", and I think it would be, but if you plan to share it with kids, be ready to encourage them to talk about it as you go along. For kids who have been abused themselves--or adults for that matter--it could be very therapeutic handled well, but could also be triggering, so reading/listening together and talking about it would be even more important. But to me that's part and parcel of what makes it such a good book.
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