June 2014, Virago, 352 pages, Paperback, Review copy
Summary from Little, Brown
Anne Shirley's children are almost all grown up - except for pretty, high-spirited Rilla, who is now almost fifteen years old. No one can resist Rilla's bright hazel eyes and dazzling smile, and Rilla herself can think no further ahead than going to her very first dance at the Four Winds lighthouse - and getting her first kiss from handsome Kenneth Ford!
But at the dance, news is brought that England has declared war on Germany. At first, this means little to Rilla, on the threshold of so many new excitements. But as her brothers go off to fight in the Great War and Rilla brings home an orphaned newborn baby in a soup tureen, she is swept into a drama that tests her courage and will leave her changed for ever...
These days I try avoid books with war in almost as much as I avoid the news - I have a tendency to over-think things and get upset easily. However, Rilla's story was intriguing - note that I don't remember reading Anne of Green Gables which Anne Shirley's story is told in). She may have been in love with love, which led to some lost shoes, but, when presented with a baby in a soup tureen (I'm not joking!) she shows great strength of character and responsibility for one so young. Or was she young? All those touched by war mature by some degree or another, Rilla is no exception Sure, she finds it tough looking after her young charge, but her determination to do her best is admirable, and helped some of the descriptions & mentions of war which brought the grade down for me.
For a more modern read of a girl who has a baby appear before her check out Little Celeste by Dawn McNiff (Children's, 9 years +, 10E/10E)