Love by the Morning Star by Laura L. Sullivan (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for Young Readers, June 2014) is a World War II historical fiction novel for teenagers with an amusing role reversal! Much like in stories like The Prince and the Pauper, in Love by the Morning Star, two girls get assigned to the wrong roles. When the attractive man takes interest, the crossed paths of the two girls confuses not only him but many others, leading to an amusing chain of events!
Anna Morgan is a poor English girl who had been raised in Berlin. Her father’s circle of friends finds her a position at a large estate (Starkers), in order for her to conduct a spy mission for the Nazis. Hannah Morgenstern, however, is the daughter of a German man and an English lady, who had put off her high status when she married and moved to Berlin. Upon the rise of Nazi power, Hannah has no where else to go, and so her parents send her to her distant relatives at Starkers.
Because of their similar names and a simple confusion upon arrival, Hannah gets assigned as a kitchen maid and the elegantly dressed Anna gets accepted into the family as the distant niece. But although it is Anna that Lord Winkfield falls for during the day, it is the demure Hannah hiding under a Yew tree that he loves talking with for hours each night. It takes some dramatic and amusing twists for the situation to become straightened out.
Because of the time period and the settings both upstairs and downstairs, the book reminded me strongly of Downton Abbey (which I love). This historical setting, then, was a lot of fun for me to read. Combined with the humor, it was a fun book overall.
There was sexuality discussed in the book (Hannah had been raised at a cabaret, after all, among other things) so that is my only hesitation for suggesting the book for some kids. In general, though, the book is full of amusing mix-ups and a clever historical setting that are sure to engage young readers!
Note: I received a digital review copy.