Morpurgo (War Horse) returns to a WWI setting with an emotional tale of wreck and recovery. The year is 1915. The Scilly Isles, north of Cornwall, are somewhat sheltered from the fighting that rages on the continent, but not completely. Alfie Wheatcroft and his father find a girl stranded on the isolated island of St. Helen's—she is unable to speak, on the edge of death, and wrapped in a blanket labeled "Wilhelm." Alfie and his family take her in, hoping to help her regain her speech, mind, and memories. The community, however, worries that she might be a German—possibly a spy, or just an enemy. In fact, "Lucy's" story is longer, stranger, and more traumatic than they could imagine, and she has good reason for her amnesia, elective mutism, and desperate fear of the water. A framing device, built around the research of Lucy's future grandson, allows Morpurgo to shift among multiple narrators as he unspools the mystery of where she came from. Along the way, Morpurgo offers powerful descriptions of shipwreck, mass drowning, and devastation, as well as healing and growth. Ages 10–14. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/12/2015 Release date: 10/27/2015 Genre: Children's
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.