Monday, December 20, 2021

Middle Grade Monday: A Place to Hang the Moon

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Title: A Place to Hang the Moon
Author: Kate Albus. Read by Polly Lee
Publication Info: Tantor Media, 2021. Original Margaret Ferguson, 2021, 309 pages
Source: Library
Publisher’s Blurb:
It is 1940 and Anna, 9, Edmund, 11, and William, 12, have just lost their grandmother. Unfortunately, she left no provision for their guardianship in her will. Her solicitor comes up with a preposterous plan: he will arrange for the children to join a group of schoolchildren who are being evacuated to a village in the country, where they will live with families for the duration of the war. He also hopes that whoever takes the children on might end up willing to adopt them and become their new family--providing, of course, that the children can agree on the choice.

Moving from one family to another, the children suffer the cruel trickery of foster brothers, the cold realities of outdoor toilets, and the hollowness of empty tummies. They seek comfort in the village lending library, whose kind librarian, Nora Muller, seems an excellent candidate--except that she has a German husband whose whereabouts are currently unknown. Nevertheless, Nora's cottage is a place of bedtime stories and fireplaces, of vegetable gardens and hot, milky tea. Most important, it's a place where someone thinks they all three hung the moon. Which is really all you need in a mom, if you think about it.

My Review:
This is a totally easy feel-good read. There is nothing extraordinary about it: the plot progression is obvious, and the standard tropes are called forth as expected. That doesn't stop it from being a highly enjoyable orphan story, in the great tradition of books about abused orphans who find their forever home with someone who will care for them. 

The biggest issue I had with the book was actually not the predictability of the plot (which these days is kind of a bonus for me), but a slight tendency to anachronism. Some of the language and diction of the characters didn't quite ring true to 1940s England, though I think most of the big-picture story did (leaving aside the utter absurdity of the premise, which is... utterly unrealistic). I do tend to get hung up on that sort of thing! 

The audio book was well produced and the reader did a good job--the characters were voiced distinctively and different accents rendered  convincingly.

My Recommendation:
This is utter brain-candy, a fun read if you are feeling the need for something a bit simple and sentimental. It's probably not the best introduction to the period for children, though the depictions of the mixed conditions for evacuees and the general mess the war caused are pretty good, really.

FTC Disclosure: I borrowed an electronic copy of A Place to Hang the Moon from my library, and received nothing from the author or the publisher in exchange for my honest review. The opinions expressed are my own and those of no one else. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”   

 ©Rebecca M. Douglass, 2021
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