From the first pages of The War That Saved My Life I knew that Ada Smith's life was pretty horrible. Her mother kept her in the basement, refusing to let her outside for anything - even to attend school because of her club foot.
As children are being evacuated from London to the countryside for reasons of safety during World War II, Ada manages to escape with her brother and go along with a group of children being adopted out to families.
It's no surprise that no one chooses Ada or her brother. They are dirty and unkempt. And Ada's club foot doesn't help things. With nowhere left to go they are left with Mrs. Smith, a woman who appears comfortable with her solitary lifestyle.
Although Ada is told that Mrs. Smith is not nice, she provides clothes, food, and the chance for Ada to learn how to ride a horse - all of these more than Ada's own mother ever did for her.
Bradley's story is touching, providing hope for a child who has endured a bleak existence. Mrs. Smith is able to open up a whole new world for Ada simply by giving her the ability to believe in herself.
I always enjoy Kimberly Brubaker Bradley's work, and can't help but feel a bit letdown when I am finished with her latest book and left waiting for what she will write next.