The Guests of War Trilogy

Kim Pearson

The Guests of War Trilogy (The Sky Is Falling, Looking at the Moon and The Lights Go On Again)

Kit Pearson is a Canadian author and has been a member of TARS. These three books deal with the adventures and growing up of two British children, Norah (age 10) and Gavin (age 5) sent to Canada in 1940 to escape the Blitz. They are sent to live in Toronto with a wealthy Rosedale widow, Florence Oglivie and her daughter, Mary. They originally only wanted to look after a young boy but were persuaded to take both siblings and Norah soon realises their lack of interest in her.

Norah struggles to settle in to her new environment, attending school and trying to make new friends, not all of whom are approved of. She is cheered by reading her Arthur Ransome books which she loves. Gavin is becoming spoiled by the attention lavished on him. Eventually Norah decides to run away with Gavin but realises that this is impractical and returns to the Ogilvie's house. There both parties recognise they have not behaved well and Norah gets some more attention and settles in better.

The second book takes place nearly two years later as Norah and Gavin spend the summer at the Ogilvie family cottage in Muskoka. Norah and Gavin enjoy the outdoors and boating which remind her of the Swallows and Amazons adventures. Other members of the Ogilvie's extended family are there, including Andrew who is conflicted about going to university or joining the forces. Not surprisingly Norah develops a bit of a crush on Andrew and part of the plot is how she works out her feelings.

The final book is set as the war in Europe is over and focuses more on Gavin's story. Norah, now aged 15, is desperate to return back to England and to resume her life there, but Gavin can hardly remember England and his family. He has become a Canadian child and sees Canada as his home. When the Ogilvies offer to adopt him, he is torn by his feelings of duty and his preference to stay in Canada.

They really need to all be read for the full impact.

Reviewed by Adam Quinan, June, 2009

This article is ©2009 by Adam Quinin, and posted on All Things Ransome with permission.

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