At first glance, The Summer We Found the Baby, a quick novel about a child observed in a basket on the steps of the new youngsters’s library in Belle Beach, Long Island, seems to be a candy photograph of existence in a small town in the course of World War II. But writer Amy Hest packs a great deal into its pages—an tricky plot, deeply imagined characters and relationships and adroitly tackled large issues together with dying and unplanned pregnancy—and handles all of it with delicacy and care.
Alternating unexpectedly among 3 narrators—12-year-old Bruno Ben-Eli; his next-door neighbor, 11-year-old Julie Sweet; and Julie’s 6-year-vintage sister, Martha—the e book begins in the morning just earlier than the library’s opening--day celebrations. Julie and Martha have arrived early with a selfmade cake for First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, to whom Bruno and Julie have both written letters in the desire that she may attend the day’s festivities. It’s the girls who find out the infant nestled in a basket at the library steps, but it’s Bruno who spots them walking away from the library with the basket. “Holy everything,” he thinks, “Julie Sweet is a kidnapper.”
The action unfolds quick from this auspicious beginning. With every twist and flip of the plot, Hest is adept at filling in simplest as a whole lot backstory as is wanted for each character. The three resourceful children are united by using an undertone of disappointment and longing. Bruno’s beloved older brother, Ben, is serving overseas, and Julie and Martha’s mom is deceased. The war casts a protracted shadow over the e-book’s events, and Hest provides spare but effective historic references at some stage in the story.
Hest’s prose is wonderfully unadorned, her narrative voices herbal and the tale deliciously satisfying. The Summer We Found the Baby is a quiet wonder and a unprecedented delight.