This spring, I turned forty. My husband crossed that threshold a few years before I did, so I wasn’t particularly nervous about it. But here I am now, on the other side, with a sprinkle of gray hairs, a new ukulele, and some really great friends—the kind who whisk me away for an overnight “reading retreat,” wherein we eat meals foraged from my favorite books (Latvian stew from A Gentleman in Moscow! Eggs and scones from My Family and Other Animals!) and go to bed before ten. On this trip we packed mostly books, which we read on a beach on Lummi Island, the three of us alternately eating, talking, reading, and napping on a quilt spread beneath a pleasantly overcast April sky.
It was perfect. Just perfect.
Of course I packed my book bag before I packed anything else. When one of the primary goals of the trip is to read, you want to bring something good, you know? Something absorbing in a comfortable way, that you can put down when a good conversation begins and pick up when it ends without having the find your place again. I scoured my shelves for Books I’d Been Longing to Read But Hadn’t Yet and settled on these three: Deeper, by Dane Ortlund; Redeeming Vision, by Elissa Yukiko Weichbrodt; and A Place to Hang the Moon, by Kate Albus.
A Place to Hang the Moon is a sweet story about three orphans who find themselves without a guardian but with a sizeable inheritance during WWII, when children were being evacuated from London. So, they embark on a dubious plan: to pose as evacuees, in the hopes that the family that takes them in might prove to be their adoptive family.
This is a story about hardship and loss and uncertainty, yes. But it is also a sweet story about sibling love and trust and libraries. It is a warm story set during difficult times, and I enjoyed every minute of it. And, at the risk of spoiling the ending, I’ll say this: I love that the author went for a good, old-fashioned, all-the-ends-tied-up-neatly ending. Not all stories have to do that, but I like that this one did!
But what did my daughters think? No results yet—I’m saving it to read aloud with them once we’ve finished The Chronicles of Narnia. (But I’m confident they’ll love it too.)
A Place to Hang the Moon
Kate Albus (2022)