Sometimes good news! Caroline Leech has written another wonderful book for teens (and adult readers of all ages!). In Another Time takes us back to Scotland during World War II, a time when the war is upending normal life in ways no one could have expected. Who would have imagined that the war would take teenage girls and young women out of their schools and kitchens and into the forest to harvest timber essential for the war effort? Who knew there were lumberjills?!
Caroline Leech picks up this hidden thread of history and weaves a story that brings to life the ironic ways war may inspire courage, open new paths, forge friendships, and – always – cause lasting and even inexplicable pain.
Maisie McCall shrugs off her last year of high school to leave home to serve in the Women’s Timber Corps, taking on the hazards of axes, saws and all kinds of weather, to fell trees in the forests of Scotland for the war effort. Her tenacity in the treacherous work is transformative for her and for the young women friends she makes among the Timber Corps as they build physical strength and daunting persistence that they – and their families – would never have imagined possible.
But in showing us the human capacity to create new possibilities during dangerous times (the growing power of girls and women, especially), Leech does not romanticize war. In her first novel, Wait for Me, also set in Scotland, the war is ever present: the enemy is here: a German POW works on the family farm! In Another Time feels at times less urgent, less threatening because the enemy – the Nazis and their war planes and soldiers – are not physically present. Maisie doesn’t see a German soldier. Instead, she learns that the dangers and pain of war are not just of the moment. In this story, the ravages of war are lived everyday in the life – and recovery – of John, the Canadian lumberjack she meets and grows to love.
Leech’s characters are so real you keep them with you after you put the book down. Herself Scottish, she’s a true storyteller. Her stories of the courage and spirit of Scots during World War II teach us their inspiring history and also remind us we don’t want to create more war stories in our time.
If you have a teen reader at your house, if you’re a teacher, if you’re a grownup who loves a good story that takes you to another time, get yourself to your neighborhood independent bookstore, your public library or to HarperTeen to get this book! Buy a copy for your school library or afterschool program. In Another Time is a delight to read and share! Thank you, Caroline Leech! We can’t wait for your next book!