Our Castle by the Sea

Lucy Strange. Chicken House, $17.99 (336p) ISBN 978-1-338-35385-3
In this WWII thriller, Strange (The Secret of Nightingale Wood) crafts an evocative portrait of wartime suspicion and intrigue. Narrator Petra (Pet) lives with her older sister Mags, and her English Pa and German Mutti in a lighthouse cottage on England’s South East coast—a lighthouse they must paint camouflage green as Britain faces imminent war. In 1939, local authorities drag Pet’s beloved Mutti, classified as an “enemy alien” because of her German ancestry, into a tribunal to investigate her loyalties. The authorities rule to intern her indefinitely “as a matter of national security.” Divided into three parts, the narrative expertly reveals a web of rumors, doubt, prejudice, and mistrust even within Pet’s own family through unraveling secrets about Pet’s parents’ wedding, Mags’s relationship with a local boy, a trip to Dunkirk, and their Pa’s charts and logbooks, seized for evidence by the police. Strange seamlessly blends a local legend, of four girls turned into ancient standing stones on the lighthouse’s clifftop, with the larger story. A standout historical novel with a memorable protagonist, strongly sketched setting, and a compelling, twisty plot. Ages 8–12. (Apr.)
Reviewed on : 02/14/2019
Release date: 04/30/2019
Genre: Children's
Compact Disc - 978-1-338-35957-2
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