It is 1941. Britain is at war with Germany. 13-year-old, Glory, and her younger brother, Rich, have stayed in London with their parents. Then a bomb falls in their back yard near the Anderson shelter they are hiding in. It kills their neighbour, Mrs Mann, but Glory, Rich and their mother escape with minor injuries. After this near-miss, Glory’s mother decides to send the children to the countryside to keep them safe. But the children arrive to find that they have nowhere to stay, and end up having to live with the rather severe and reserved Miss Saunders.
Rich seems to thrive, but Glory is very homesick. She is sure Miss Saunders doesn’t like her and her brother, and feels that the other children are laughing at them. She thinks that Rich is being teased by Jess, Lawrence and Archie. However, Glory comes to realise that first impressions aren’t always right and things are not always as they seem. The village of Thorntree that was at first so alien to Glory becomes her sanctuary and her home, and the people there she thought didn’t like her become her closest friends.
Catching Falling Stars has been published to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. The ‘Falling Stars’ referred to in the title are, in fact, bullets from a rogue German plane. However, this is a heartwarming story about families, friendship and life during World War II. The majority of the novel is set in the countryside and is seen from the perspective of an evacuee. It shows how such a great change takes a period of adjustment and how it is easy for misconceptions to be formed both by the newcomers and the existing villagers. The portrait of the characters’ lives is intimate and personal, yet at the same time the historical detail gives the story context, creating a charming but realistic picture of an extremely difficult time.