A Troubled Peace
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A Troubled Peace

4.6 11
by L. M. Elliott

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March 1945

World War II may be ending, but for nineteen-year-old pilot Henry Forester the conflict still rages. Shot down behind enemy lines in France, Henry endured a dangerous trek to freedom, relying on the heroism of civilians and Resistance fighters to stay alive. But back home in Virginia, Henry is still reliving air battles with Hitler's Luftwaffe


March 1945

World War II may be ending, but for nineteen-year-old pilot Henry Forester the conflict still rages. Shot down behind enemy lines in France, Henry endured a dangerous trek to freedom, relying on the heroism of civilians and Resistance fighters to stay alive. But back home in Virginia, Henry is still reliving air battles with Hitler's Luftwaffe and his torture by the Gestapo. Mostly, Henry can't stop worrying about the safety of those who helped him escape—especially one French boy, Pierre, who, because of Henry, may have lost everything.

When Henry returns to France to find Pierre, he is stunned by the brutal after-math of combat: starvation, cities shattered by Allied bombing, and the shocking return of concentration camp survivors. Amid the rubble of war, Henry must begin a daring search for a lost boy—plus a fight to regain his own internal peace and the trust of the girl he loves.

L. M. Elliott's sequel to Under a War-Torn Sky is an astonishing account of surviving the fallout from war.

Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Mary Quattlebaum
Local author L.M. Elliott adds another nuanced historical novel to her much-praised canon. This sequel to Under a War-Torn Sky finds bomber pilot Henry Forester home in Virginia but suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. As World War II nears an end, Henry suffers from flashbacks to his capture and escape from the Gestapo in occupied France. And he cannot forget the young French boy, Pierre, who had protected Henry only to lose his own family. The young pilot returns to France to find the orphan amidst the chaos of the crumbling Nazi regime. With our own country currently at war, this compelling book proves especially timely. Elliott vividly captures the turmoil, fear and hope of the times and the sense of trying to pick up the pieces and re-build. "War ends," she writes in the afterword, "and the battle for peace begins." Reviewer: Mary Quattlebaum
VOYA - Ed Goldberg
Eighteen-year-old Henry, recently returned home to Richmond, Virginia, from World War II, has nightmares about his war experiences—being shot down in enemy territory, hiding, receiving assistance from the Resistance, being captured and tortured, and finally finding freedom through the surprising kindness of a German soldier. His dreams wake him up at night. In particular, he dreams about eight-year-old Pierre, who guided him through French forests to freedom. Pierre's mother was captured, and he was placed with a local priest for transport to a safe location. Patsy, Henry's girlfriend, is both afraid of him and for him. His family thinks Henry should return to France and search for Pierre, hoping that knowing Pierre's fate will give Henry peace of mind. In this sequel to Under a War-Torn Sky (Hyperion/DBG, 2001/VOYA December 2001), Henry returns to France, relives some of his war experiences, and locates some people who helped him. The book describes the atrocities and destruction caused by World War II in terms of human life and property; however, the story seems contrived and the characters stereotypes. The repeated descriptions of war and its horrendous casualties seem like a classroom lecture. Elliot's introduction of Henry's post—traumatic stress syndrome, unrecognized during the World War II era, is only touched upon, and the "cure" is too easy. The story is reasonably paced and the language is readable. Readers need not have read the first book to understand the second. The afterword adds some perspective to the story, but it might be a hard sell. Reviewer: Ed Goldberg
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Elliott's sequel to Under a War-Torn Sky (Hyperion, 2001) finds 19-year-old Henry home from World War II and troubled with nightmares of his battles and losses. He still loves Patsy, who will not marry him despite his declaration of love to her. He goes back to France to look for Pierre, a boy he remembers because of the loss that Henry may have caused him. Filled with historical references and images of war-torn Europe, the story will appeal to adventure lovers and history enthusiasts. The inclusion of French with some translations might turn slower readers off, but the plot moves along at a pace that will keep its audience's attention.—Richard J. Snyder, Inglewood Junior High School, Sammamish, WA
Kirkus Reviews
The end of World War II is nearing, and 19-year-old Henry Forester has made it home to Virginia after being shot down over Nazi-occupied France (Under a War-Torn Sky, 2001). Unsettled by a refusal of marriage, Henry decides he needs to know more about those who helped him escape, and now that France is free of German rule, he returns to try to resolve his doubts. Peace for his soul comes hard, as it does for the whole country, damaged and suffering from years of resistance and collaboration. Food is scarce, travel difficult and the chaos of daily arrivals from the eastern camps leaves everyone unsettled. As Henry retraces his steps looking for those who helped him, especially the boy Pierre, the ravages of war come clear. Stylistically, this novel doesn't stand out; its strength lies in the evocation of its setting, where heroes and heroines emerge as sacrifices are counted and as their irrepressible spirits begin to reassert themselves. (Historical fiction. YA)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
820L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

A Troubled Peace

Chapter One

March 1945

"Pull her up, Henry! Pull her up!"

Henry gripped the plane's steering wheel as it crashed through sun-split clouds toward earth.

He gritted his teeth and waited. Henry had cheated death a dozen times like this during bombing missions over France and Germany. Hurling a plane into a dive to put out an engine fire was the first survival trick pilots learned. They'd earned their manhood during flight training by yanking a plane up just before it smashed into trees or barracks, bragging on how long they'd waited, how close they'd come, how boys who flinched and pulled up early were chicken. Whoever stayed cool longest won bets for three-day passes away from base through such dares. Stupid stuff.

Henry couldn't believe he was using the bullyboy tactic, and on Patsy, the person he loved most. But forcing a situation was the only battle strategy Henry knew since going to war. Never second-guess; force a shot-up plane to fly even though ditching was a better idea; charge in with guns blaring; do or die.

"Henry, please. Pull the plane up."

"Not until you say yes. Come on, Pats. Yes."

Henry glanced over at Patsy's heart-shaped face. It had that stubborn, I'll-never-admit-to-being-scared look he'd seen countless times on their school playground. He'd always loved what a spitfire she was. But it sure wasn't helping him now.

He calculated the distance to the horizon rushing toward him. He still had a good sixty seconds. He held to his bluff. "I'll pull up when you agree to marry me."

The plane started to buck.

Patsy braced herself. "No, Henry.I love you. But I can't."

"Why not, Pats?"

"I don't think you're ready, Henry."

"Not ready? I spent all my Air Force back pay for the ring. I had a heck of a fight with my dad about buying it. I'd say I'm ready." His voice rattled like the plane. "Please, Pats. Thinking about you, about coming home, is what kept me walking across France, what kept me alive when the Gestapo near drowned me during interrogation. You're my copilot, my navigator. I can't fly straight without you."

For a moment, Patsy wavered. Then she screamed: "Henry—look out!"

Out of the lowering sun swarmed Nazi fighters—Junkers, Messerschmitts.

Twelve-o'clock high—bogeys coming in, fast! Henry heard the voices of his crew shouting, calling out the flight path of the Luftwaffe killers streaking toward them.

Someone radioed American fighters for help: Little friends, little friends, we've got a hornet's nest here. They're everywhere!

Do something, Hank. I don't want to die!


A gray-green Messerschmitt roared past the cockpit, its bullets ripping into Henry's plane, the German pilot's mocking face close enough to see. Did you really think I would allow you to escape?


Engines exploded. The plane erupted in a ripple of orange flames. Billowing smoke choked the cockpit. Henry couldn't see anything, couldn't find Patsy anywhere. All he could hear was: We're cooked, Hank. We're cooked.


Henry lurched up, crab-backing into the bed's headboard and banging his skull against his high school diploma hanging above it. He counted the windows—one, two, three. He saw the whitewashed bureau by the door, looked up to see the airplane model he'd made when he was twelve hanging from the ceiling.

Check. Check. Check.

He was in his own bed, in Virginia. Just another nightmare. Another flight into the hell of his own mind.

Kicking back the tangle of covers, Henry fell out of bed and stumbled to his bureau. He picked up a small box and yanked open the starched cotton curtains. Moonlight fell onto his hands as he opened the case. There was the diamond ring Patsy hadn't wanted.

Henry rubbed his face against the ice-cold windowpane to wake himself up completely. He was so sick of his crazy, mixed-up thoughts; these nightmares; the flashbacks to air battles and his struggles on the escape lines of France; the bizarre overlap of his life in Virginia with the memories he was trying to dodge. He was ashamed of knee-jerk reactions like the time Henry's dad, Clayton, shot at a fox in one of the henhouses and the sound of the blast sent Henry bolting across half the county before he recognized he wasn't being hunted himself. It was so hard to know sometimes what was really happening and what was simply his mind playing with him, torturing him just as the Gestapo had set up a fake escape to break his spirit. He wanted the war in his soul to be over. He was home. Why couldn't he get back to normal? And why wouldn't Patsy marry him?

Henry had set up a perfect proposal, taking Patsy to a dance at Richmond's swank John Marshall Hotel. She'd piled her hair in soft curls and wore a dress she'd borrowed from a society friend she'd met through the Red Cross. It was deep blue velvet with swirls of small beads on its padded shoulders. Very fancy. Very Ginger Rogers. As she held his hand and guided Henry to the dance floor through the mob of returned servicemen and their dates, he knew marrying Patsy was the way back, back to the life he'd planned before the war, before the missions, before all the killing.

As the band played "Till Then," the heart-wrenching song asking the hometown girl to stay true until her soldier returned, Henry held Patsy close and whispered: "Marry me, Patsy." The moment felt like something out of the song, the line he'd hummed over and over to himself in France, "Till then, let's dream of what there will be."

But Patsy had said no. Not yet. "You seem so angry," she said, "so haunted. I worry that you think getting married will stop all that somehow. But what if I'm not enough? I don't think I can fix all that. It scares me, Henry." She'd paused, then murmured, "You scare me."

Remembering, Henry butted his head against the glass. Girl, you don't know scared. He hadn't told Patsy half of what he'd seen. Boys shredded and blown out of bomb bays to splatter on the glass cockpits of planes following behind in formation. French children so hungry they fought over scraps dropped on the ground by picnicking Nazis. Women dragged out of their homes by neighbors to shave their heads as payback for teenage flirtations with the enemy.

A Troubled Peace. Copyright (c) by L. Elliott . Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Laura Malone Elliott is the author of Under a War-Torn Sky, a NCSS/CBC Notable Book in Social Studies, a Jefferson Cup Honor Book, and winner of the Borders' Original Voices Award, and its sequel, A Troubled Peace, also a NCSS/CBC Notable; Annie, Between the States, an IRA Teacher's Choice and NYPL Book for the Teen Age; Give Me Liberty; and Flying South, a Bank Street College Best Children's Book. She lives in Virginia with her family.

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A Troubled Peace (Turtleback School & Library Binding Edition) 4.6 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 11 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book and the one before it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Amazing i cant even put it in words such a good sequel
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book. This is a perfect balance between romance, action, sadness, and dedication.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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tsam More than 1 year ago
The book "A Troubled Peace" is by L.M Elliot and it is about a plot from World War II and he just got back from the war. While Henry was in the war he meets a boy named Pierre who helped him hide from the Nazis. Henry have to leave Pierre in a church with a priest when he had to leave. So Henry went back to France to search for Pierre and madam another friend who had helped him. I give this book a 9.5 rating out of 10. It was very interesting to learn about P.O.W camps and how France and it's people were impacted by the war. Also, L.M Elliot used a lot of details of the war and how the solders,Jews,Russian were treated in the P.O.W camps. The women were put in Ravenburke and they had to do hard labor. But madame was used as a translator. she had to lie to the women that if they let doctors run test on them they would be set free. Even though some parts were gross, it was interesting to learn about the aftermath of the war in France and the lives of Madame,Pierre and Henry.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A Troubled Peace, the long-awaited sequel to Under a War-Torn Sky, is an honest and beautiful portrayal of the mess that war leaves behind-long after peace has been declared. Suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, Henry Forester, the hero of Under a War-Torn Sky, returns to France to learn what has happened to those who saved his life and helped him return home. What he finds in post-war France is destruction and heartbreak-but also amidst the horror and tragedy, a profound sense of resilience and of hope. Both action-packed and lyrically written, this sequel is an exquisite character study-and also resounds with the historical detail and accuracy for which L. M. Elliott is so well-known. Readers of Under A War-Torn Sky will be drawn in by the continued stories of its characters as they struggle to rebuild their country and themselves. This book is an eye-opening must-read for readers of all ages!