While on my second trip to London in the summer of 2005, my best friend and I went to the Imperial War Museum and spent most of our time in a temporary exhibit called The Children’s War. The exhibit talked about the different ways World War II affected the lives of children living in Britain, including the children who were evacuated from Britain to America and other countries. I had been interested in World War II since my grandfather began telling me stories of his time in the American Army, and by the time I left the exhibit, I had an idea for a novel about two evacuated English sisters. I began writing (and TONS of research) the next year when I entered Seton Hill University’s Writing Popular Fiction program. The result is as follows:
A Common Language
Fourteen-year-old Evelyn Chester is half-English, half-German, and learning America isn’t what she thought when she’s evacuated from London in September 1940. She tries to comfort her nine-year-old sister, Sara, who won’t speak to anyone in their new home with their father’s friends, the Wellingtons, in Wilcox, Indiana. There’s not much comfort to be had when John Wellington makes her life difficult at every turn and their mother’s letters don’t come through. But Evelyn spares nothing to make Sara happy…even the truth.
A Common Enemy
When Pearl Harbor is bombed and the U.S. joins the war in December 1941, Evelyn and Sara find themselves the objects of hostility in town because of their German heritage and Evelyn’s strong opinions. Only Gordon King, a new boy in Evelyn’s class, seems to look past the stir, but Evelyn soon learns his family needs someone to speak German to his great-uncle, a refugee from Austria. As she spends more time with the Kings, she uncovers a family secret that only she can understand.
A Common Home
As Evelyn prepares for graduation from Wilcox High School in June 1944, she must also prepare for John Wellington to reach enlistment age and go to war. Evelyn finds herself falling in love with her former rival, but wonders how their love can last through battle and her desire to return to England. When Mrs. Chester arrives in Wilcox shortly after John ships out, both Evelyn and Sara must re-evaluate the meaning of home.