Teenage brothers Jack and George are back in another Second World War spy thriller for young readers. In this one, the Canadian boys travel with their family to Britain and plunge back into a world of intrigue overseen by “Little Bill”, William Stephenson, while their code-breaker mother serves at Bletchley Park. As with previous novels in the series, history and action-packed fiction are well-balanced, from the start, where they escort a German naval Enigma machine to Bletchley to an ending of high-adrenaline drama with a German spy. Many historical figures cross their path; the author’s afterword expands a little on these people. Though the teens’ involvement is improbable, it doesn’t tax the bounds of imaginative plausibility. George’s first person narrative is able to explain unfamiliar things to younger readers without seeming to lecture. This would be a great read for teens and older children.
Guest Review by Hannah Grant
Sequel to Belle of Batoche, this novel follows the adventures of Kathryn Tourond through the death of her parents and the changes in her lifestyle that result from it. Kathryn was raised as an upperclass white girl, uninformed of her father’s Métis roots. Now an orphan, she is sent to live with her Aunt Belle, a dark-skinned Métis woman. Kathryn is disdained to find out that her aunt owns a small run-down home on the outskirts of the white territory, has to work hard for everything she has, and is treated differently from the white people. She is even more disgruntled when she realizes she must help with the household chores.
As time passes, Kathryn sees the struggles of the Métis and how unfair it is that they are treated as trash, but for a long time she doesn’t think of herself as one of them. She thinks of her time in River Falls as temporary and hopes to return to her school in Toronto and go on to become a lawyer.
One aspect of River Falls, however, Kathryn finds intriguing: the story of the mysterious Highwayman who brings justice and fairness to the Métis. She hopes to solve the mystery of the Highwayman, but soon finds out that her aunt is involved. When the Highwayman is framed for a murder, he and Belle could be in danger, and it is up to Kathryn to help them.
This story details the hardships faced by the Métis in the early 1900s and the changes in Kathryn’s perspective towards her people. A good read for both children and adults, this book is the tale of a girl coming to love her family for who they are and cherish a simple country life in River Falls.
Daughters of Blessing Series, by Lauraine Snelling
A Promise for Ellie, Sophie’s Dilemma, A Touch of Grace, Rebecca’s Reward
Guest Review by Ashley K.
This four book series follows the lives of four young women in the Bjorklund family. Set In the early 1900’s, the reader experiences what life was like back then and sees all the changes the new century is bringing for the Norwegian family and others in the small community of Blessing, North Dakota. The series is filled with romance, laughter, tragedy, and friendship as it tells how each woman finds her purpose and true love. If you like historical fiction or books that weave all the characters into the plots of all the books in the series, you will love this series.