Daniel and Esther

Patrick Raymond, Author Margaret K. McElderry Books $12.95 (165p) ISBN 978-0-689-50504-1
Though the book's cover, with its teen couple superimposed over sheet music and legions of Nazi soldiers, is misleading, this effulgent tale is of young love played against the lush scenery of coastal Devon in England. A ``problem child'' at 13 in 1936, Daniel, the narrator, has been sent to the progressive Dartington Hall school. There he gets into greater trouble trying to impress Esther, an Austrian girl. He eventually comes into his own under the tutelage of Joachim Schultz, a German composer. Over the next three years, Daniel's love for Esther--and music--grows, while events in Europe intrude on life at Dartington: Schultz is killed in Spain, Esther's parents are trapped in Austria and everyone talks of war. Daniel's suite for strings, inspired by Esther, is performed for the school just before the summer holiday of 1939. But his world shatters the next day when he learns that he is to go to America and Esther to Vienna, perhaps never to meet again. In his first YA novel, British writer Raymond evokes the desperation of first love with such gripping immediacy that it takes the breath away. Ages 12-up. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Genre: Children's
Paperback - 176 pages - 978-1-4169-6798-9
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