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Email Address. Email address:. Please provide an email address. Categories of Interest: Select All. Current Affairs. Historical Fiction. I cant help feeling Marjorie gained more from the switch than Shona. I wont spoil the ending Very good book. Dec 06, Karen rated it liked it. The premise is unusual and appealing, and I remember being haunted by it as a child. Two orphans being evacuated from England during the war decide to switch places. Re-reading it as an adult, I wish the book had done a lot more to show us how Marjorie felt about her fake identity as Shona, and how these feelings changed over time.

After the book jumps forward five years, Marjorie's thoughts don't seem to have changed at all. I read this book I am guessing in junior high or maybe even earlier than that, in fact yeah for some reason I want to say it was earlier because I have some weird memory of standing on the playground of my Catholic school, which I went to through 5th grade, thinking about the characters Shona and Margaret and what they were going through and wishing I could be like them in some way having adventure or just be liked in anyway, the way they seemed or at least 'Shona' seemed to manage to be.

But I I read this book I am guessing in junior high or maybe even earlier than that, in fact yeah for some reason I want to say it was earlier because I have some weird memory of standing on the playground of my Catholic school, which I went to through 5th grade, thinking about the characters Shona and Margaret and what they were going through and wishing I could be like them in some way having adventure or just be liked in anyway, the way they seemed or at least 'Shona' seemed to manage to be.

But I could be wrong about exactly when I read it, so I'ma just guestimate. Also,e when I think about it, it's kind of silly but kind of telling that I would have yearned for lives like their's considering the tragedies they were going through, I found my existence so mundane and so detestable at times that I think I was often doing that as a child, fantasizing and romanticizing other existences or lifestyles any that were different from my own. Any that took me away even if it meant being a poor orphan in a war-torn country.

Pretty cray. So, I just remember that I was really touched by this book, these girls who against all odds managed to have fun, forge deep and meaningful bonds and enjoy themselves, or at least one of them did, but I also remember being really, really shocked and angry at the end. Anyway I won't spoil it, suffice it to say it is a heart reeling beautiful story of friendship betrayal and acceptance and compassion. I should probably read it again to see if I'm right about that. Sep 21, Aimee Massey rated it liked it Shelves: children-s , young-adult , the-mists-of-history , ian-might-like-this , oh-the-places-you-ll-go.

In Edinburgh in , eleven-year-old Marjorie Malcolm-Scott lives a lonely existence. Orphaned in a boating accident three years earlier, she is under the care of her uncle Fergus, who spends most of his time traveling abroad, so that Marjorie is cared for by Mrs. Kilpatrick, the housekeeper, who has no particular interest in or affection for her. Marjorie has every comfort her uncle's money can provide, but she has no friends and is largely ignored by the adults who should be closest to her.

One day in September, Marjorie is killing time in the park when she strikes up a friendship with Shona, a girl her own age who lives in a nearby orphanage. The two girls spend every day of one week playing together, before Marjorie's posh school is to start. Shona's public school has already started, but she's been playing hooky. Before Marjorie's school opens, she receives a letter from her uncle's secretary informing her that Uncle Fergus, concerned about the intensifying war, has arranged for Marjorie to travel alone to Canada and live with some relatives whom she has never met.

Marjorie is terrified of having to stay with unknown relatives, and even more terrified of the transatlantic crossing; she is prone to seasickness and has never gotten over the trauma of losing her parents at sea. She begs to be allowed to stay in Edinburgh, but the subject is not open for discussion. On the fateful day, Mrs. Kilpatrick says good-bye to Marjorie at the train station, not even staying to make sure she gets on the right train to go to the dock.

It's at the station that Marjorie sees a crowd of children from the orphanage, waiting to board a different train that will evacuate them to the countryside. And there is Shona, who is sympathetic to Marjorie's situation, and none too pleased with her own. Impulsively, Marjorie and Shona, who bear a slight resemblance to each other, decide to switch identities: Shona will go to Canada under Marjorie's name and stay with her relatives, who won't know the difference, never having met the real Marjorie, and Marjorie will pose as Shona and be placed in a safe home in the country.

And so the deed is accomplished. The girls switch clothing, luggage and documents, and Marjorie even hacks off her own long pigtails in imitation of Shona's short orphanage haircut. And then they part ways, promising to meet in the park once the war is over and switch back again. They have no idea how their lives will change or how long the war will last. Shona had been instructed to look after a younger girl from the orphanage, Anna, on the journey to the country.

The other children are so excited by their evacuation that they pay no mind to the impostor in their midst. And gradually, Marjorie settles in, both in her new home and in her new identity. A fairly healthy dose of suspended disbelief is required here, because not only does Anna never slip up and reveal that Marjorie is not really Shona, the other orphanage kids don't either. One boy does figure it out right away and tells everybody at the new school, but he is not believed and is punished for teasing "Shona.

Among the real Shona's possessions, which she traded to Marjorie at the train station, there is a painting of a grand but dilapidated house that was all Shona has as a clue to her origins. She knows the name of the village she came from, but not who her parents are. By a coincidence, the village Marjorie and Anna wind up in is that very village, and eventually Marjorie finds the house in the painting, now abandoned. Gradually, from listening to and questioning people in town, she begins to piece together the story of the house, the family who lived there, and the story of Shona's parents.

The war drags on longer than anyone expected, and during that time, Marjorie comes to feel she belongs. The Misses Campbells, at first fussy and distant, reveal themselves as kind and caring ladies who genuinely love the girls placed in their charge. Marjorie does well at school, and with the encouragement of the local doctor, decides to become a doctor herself, and to that end she applies for and receives a government grant to attend the University of Edinburgh. But something is worrying Marjorie. All this time, she has been accepted as Shona McInnis, but what will happen if her deception is uncovered?


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If she's revealed to be Marjorie Malcolm-Scott, a young woman of considerable means, will she lose her grant money? Unable to bear the worry, she confides in her mentor, Dr. Knight, who assures her that there is nothing for her to fear; the "real" Shona McInnis is now Marjorie, and Marjorie's family money belongs to her. And so Marjorie arrives in Edinburgh to start her classes, but she wants to see Shona and tell her the truth of her origins, and to give her the chance to switch back if she wants to.

After a few unsuccessful attempts, Marjorie finally meets Shona at Uncle Fergus's house. Neither Uncle Fergus nor Mrs. Kilpatrick recognize her, and Shona herself refuses to acknowledge that she recognizes Marjorie. She defiantly insists that she is now Marjorie Malcolm-Scott, and that there is nothing anyone can do to change that.

The story ends with Marjorie comforting herself that Shona now has the life she had always wanted, and that she herself, as Shona, has a future she likely wouldn't have had if she'd stuck with the original plan and gone to Canada. The ending was a bit unsatisfying; Marjorie accepts Shona's refusal to acknowledge their switch very easily, and Shona herself didn't strike me as the type who could so thoroughly abandon her old identity and personality. But the story itself was very well-written, thought-provoking and intriguing. Jul 19, Shelley rated it liked it Shelves: , historical , youth.

In , kids are evacuated from Edinborough to avoid bombings--rich orphan Marjorie was meant to sail to Canada to live with relatives she never met, and poor orphan Shona was set to go with her orphanage to the countryside, but they switch places instead. It's a very odd book. It's generally Marjorie's POV, except when it switches for a few random lines to someone else. The focus is on finding out Shona's parentage so she can share it when they switch back, but the second to last chapter is se In , kids are evacuated from Edinborough to avoid bombings--rich orphan Marjorie was meant to sail to Canada to live with relatives she never met, and poor orphan Shona was set to go with her orphanage to the countryside, but they switch places instead.

The focus is on finding out Shona's parentage so she can share it when they switch back, but the second to last chapter is set 5 years later and scoots through another year or two, at which point Marjorie reflects on how she hadn't thought about that in so many years and she'd been so young 11 and it meant nothing anymore. The end wasn't totally surprising, but I wish Marjorie had articulated better her thoughts and stood up for herself a little.

And the Anna storyline was more than a little odd. I liked her quirky guardians, the Miss Campbells, though.

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Aug 04, Pauline rated it really liked it Shelves: wwii. I read this book aloud to my daughters in when we were home schooling. I just pulled it off the shelf to give to my oldest daughter who is now a 5th grade teacher. Before I gave it to her, I decided to reread it and I'm certainly glad I did. So many people miss really good stories because they would not consider a book for younger people at their interest level.

As a teacher, it is my belief that a well-written, interesting book is a good book to read, no matter what the reading level. This I read this book aloud to my daughters in when we were home schooling. This was not a book that talked down to the readers, but one that kept even my interest as an adult. Set in WWII Scotland this Prince and the Pauper-esque story followed one young, rich evacuee and her life upon switching identities with an orphan. It is a tale of love over money, searching for identities, and how quickly some will settle for lesser things. The interesting ending added to an excellent story and I encourage you to read it aloud to children or just read it for yourself.

It will be a quick afternoon get-away that will make you smile. Dec 24, Donnell rated it liked it. Quite engrossing. Liked the premise--a rich orphan child switches places with a poor orphan child. Liked the mystery--who once lived in the spooky old mansion on the edge of a small Scottish town? And does it hold clues to Shona's parents? Also, liked that Marjorie finds a life and family that feels better than her old life and family. Did not like the way Shona, at the end of the book, has become so cold-hearted.

Do not li Quite engrossing. Do not like that Marjorie discovers some really cool stuff for Shona but Shona, via Shona's choice, will never know the info. Do not like knowing nothing about Shona's life in Canada--which would have allowed readers to make their own decision about the life that would have been best for each, i. Do not like that Marjorie can never go home again.

Aug 24, Amy Flink rated it really liked it. I first tried to read this book when I was 9 or I was at the library trying to decide which books to check out and my dad handed it to me. I started reading it but only read a couple pages but just recently I remembered that book and got it. It haunted me, as well, and gave me nightmares. It is really bizarre. I feel the ending was a real let-down.

Also it was sad to see Shona and Marj I first tried to read this book when I was 9 or Also it was sad to see Shona and Marjories's friendship fizzle. It wasn't very nice what Shona did to her, stealing her identity and not giving it back. It's crazy. But great book, I loved reading about the mansion.

Searching for Smokey Quartz!! :)

So interesting! Aug 03, Elizabeth rated it really liked it.


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  6. While the ending was rather odd and abrupt, I loved this story of two orphans who switch identities at the beginning of WWII. Instead of going to Canada to live with distant relatives, Marjorie lets Shona go in her place, and instead starts a new life in the Scottish countryside. At the same time that she's assuming Shona's identity, she's investigating her past, which is linked to an eerie painting and an old, abandoned house down the road.

    Anderson creates a perfect blend of mystery, history, While the ending was rather odd and abrupt, I loved this story of two orphans who switch identities at the beginning of WWII. Anderson creates a perfect blend of mystery, history, and domestic life. Dec 23, Cynthia Egbert rated it liked it Shelves: prospector-loans.

    I really wish that I had read this novel as a young person. It is a great story but as an adult I just wanted to smack these two girls for pulling off such a scheme.


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    Of course, it all worked out in the end and everyone got just what they wanted and deserved. I picked up this one because it is another of those on a lot of youth lists and it is about WWII, only the war plays a real back seat in the story. I did enjoy it and came to love the characters a great deal.

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    Jan 28, Nichole rated it really liked it. It is one of those stories that stayed with me. I always recalled the story but never the title or author. After a Google search of the key terms about the plot, I finally find it! I must order this book for my own book shelf. If you have young teen girls, I recommend getting it for them.

    Oct 08, Louisa rated it it was amazing. I loved this book when I read it at 10 years old. The teacher was having trouble finding me books that really interested me, I wasn't into Noel Streatfield or anything about girls at boarding school or ballet schools. I think it was because it was a life I knew nothing about and it was about life during World War 2 something I'd heard about through the family and tv. Feb 27, Scar rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites. A rich lonely young orphan girl decides to switch with her new found poor friend, whom looks surrounded by Other struggling orphans in her orphanage.

    When they both are move from their current homes, they plan to switch places, and to switch back after the war. It works, only too well, as far as we know they never switch back. They each fill the other's spot better than their own. Sep 04, Angela rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: anyone. Shelves: young-adult , ww2-era. Beautiful and sad tale of two British girls,both orphans, who change places on an evacuee train during WW2. One is rich and the other is poor. The story follows the rich girl who passes as the poor girl and lives out her life with two ladies in the English countryside.

    This is an important look at the lives of evacuee children during WW2. Jan 10, Cameo S rated it really liked it. I appreciate that although this is a book geared towards middle school age children, the author still put forth the effort to write this story in a professional and elevated manner. I find many books geared towards kids tend to write down to that level instead of lifting the kids up with literary prose. This books was sweetly written and a touching story. Dec 21, Kas rated it it was amazing Shelves: adventure , un-put-down-able , good , suspense. I read this book as a kid, and could never remember it's name.

    I typed a description f the storyline into the net, and goodreads was able to help. Re-reading it was as delightful as the first time.

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    The vivid memory I had of the last chapter was spot on after all these years. If anything, I think I like it even more now. Thanks to all who have written nice synopses - this was a great help! Oct 31, Sydney rated it liked it Shelves: read-for-school. Of what I can remember about this book, I think I liked it. I read a long time ago, but I can still remember what it's about. I do know that I wasn't satisfied at all with the ending. During the second World War, two Scottish girls switch places when they are evacuated from Edinburgh. A fun glimpse into what it is like to switch places with someone whose life you envy.

    Will they switch back at the end of the war??? Read it to find out!