Exiles from the War by Jean Little (Red Cedar Club Book 2012)

This is a lovely coming of age tale set at the beginning of WW2 in Ontario.
When Charlotte Mary Twiss turned 12 in 1940, her sister, Eleanor, gave her a diary and made her promise to use it to document the events in what Eleanor avowed would be a significant year in her life. Eleanor even promised her a treat if she could keep it up to the end of the year.
This book is Charlotte’s diary. In it she confides her hopes and dream, joys and sorrows. At first she thinks she will have nothing of significance to record, but with war in the background, it turns out she is mistaken.  Through Charlotte’s diary we see that a war that seems very far away has repercussions on the home front in numerous ways.  When the family sponsors war guests, Charlotte has to come to grips with no longer being the baby in the family and learn to share her siblings and parents.  She tries to understand her best friend, Barbara, when she is filled with worry about her Jewish relatives in Europe. Then Charlotte's brother joined the navy and after flurries of letter writing back and forth, there were no missives from him.
Charlotte is a sensitive realistic character and over the year we see her mature and become aware of others.
I love how Jean Little seamlessly integrates historical events into the novel format through Charlotte’s eyes.
I truly enjoyed this book. In case you don't know, Jean Little can really write.
I know a few readers who are going to enjoy this one as much as I did.

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