Read Searching for Shona by Margaret J. Anderson Online


During the evacuation of children from Edinburgh in the early days of World War II, shy, wealthy Margaret on her way to relatives in Canada trades places and identities with the orphaned Shona bound for the Scottish countryside....

Title : Searching for Shona
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780394825878
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 159 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Searching for Shona Reviews

  • Stephanie
    2019-06-03 06:02

    I loved this book as a kid; it always stuck with me, and I wanted to read it again. I ordered a copy on Amazon, paying 1 cent for it. So, my used copy arrives (a paperback). It's signed by the author! She autographed it and dated it for 1991, and signed it: "For Stephanie." What a great coincidence!!!I really enjoyred rereading this book.

  • R.
    2019-05-18 07:52

    This is the story of two adolescent girls who are evacuated from Edinburgh at the beginning of World War II. The protagonist, Marjorie, is a painfully shy, wealthy orphan who lives with her inattentive uncle. Brash, confident Shona is a poor orphan who lives at the nearby orphanage and doesn't know her own lineage. Marjorie is supposed to be going to Canada to stay with relatives that she has never met and Shona is being shipped off to the country. However, Marjorie is terrified of boats due to the fact that her parents died in a boat accident. She also doesn't want to live with relatives she doesn't know. Shona, on the other hand, has always been envious of Marjorie's life and doesn't want to go to the country. So the two girls end up switching identities in the train station. Shona goes to Canada and Marjorie goes to the country where she ends up using Shona's few possessions to solve the mystery of Shona's heritage.The book ends years later after the war has ended, and an 18-year-old Marjorie returns to Edinburgh to find Shona, tell her the truth of her parentage, and switch back as they agreed as children. Shona, however, flatly refuses to acknowledge that the switch occurred and declares that she is Marjorie Malcolm-Scott and there's nothing Marjorie can do about it. The final lines of the book feature Marjorie comforting herself by reflecting that Shona can keep her family, her wealth, and her name because in the course of living Shona's life she has become bold and confident and as such "found herself."This book scarred me as a child. Though I couldn't articulate it then, outside of the overwhelming Do Not Want inherent in the injustice of Shona stealing Marjorie's life, the biggest problem with this book is that Marjorie's finding herself is accomplished only through imitating someone else. She never becomes a stronger, better Marjorie, she just becomes a watered down Shona. It would have been more empowering if she faced her fears and moved to Canada and then grown from that experience, rather than running away from the root of her problems and losing herself in someone else's identity.Overall, this book is deeply unsatisfying, more than a little distressing, and botches its intended moral.

  • Emily
    2019-06-10 09:49

    A WWII evacuee story with a twist. Two girls, both orphans (one from an orphanage and one under the care of a wealthy but emotionally distant and mostly absent uncle) impulsively switch places in the chaos of mass evacuation at a railway station at the start of the war. It's a very quick read -- I could have read it in one sitting if circumstances had allowed. It's a reminder of how much shorter a typical children's chapter book was in the days before Harry Potter (this one was published in 1978) and also of the truism that less is sometimes more. Still, however agreeably lean and taut the story was, the finish was rather jolting in its suddenness, ending immediately after something rather unexpected, and to a degree, chilling, happens (I'd love to compare opinions with someone else who's read it -- is it a happy ending?). One can easily imagine that other authors might have made the book's ending its real starting point. That would have meant following the girls' lives into adulthood though, and this is too thoroughly a middle grade book for that.

  • Shawn Thrasher
    2019-06-03 08:13

    This is a book my fourth grade teacher, Miss Coralie Shull, read aloud to our class sometime in 1979-1980. I'm not going to claim that this is wonderful literature, but something about it has stuck in my head for 36 years, bits and pieces that were wonderful to explore again. It's a strange little book, sort of unbelievable, and some things I at age 10 probably accepted at face value I puzzled over at age 40something. I also think that if this were written today, we'd probably get a sequel or two (or three or four...), but way back in the dark ages of children's literature, you had to use your imagination to come up with "the rest of the story." I don't know if kids today would even like a book like this. I do know that the power of reading aloud to impressible fourth graders must be pretty strong, as I remembered this (and several others).

  • Heidi
    2019-06-03 08:56

    I recently stumbled across this book that I loved as a kid. Happily, it held up under my weighty expectations.Marjorie and Shona, both orphans, became friends at their local park in Edinburgh. Marjorie is a rich orphan in the care of her uncle who's never there--she's looked after by a disinterested housekeeper. Shona is a poor orphan who lives in an orphanage. When the children of Edinburgh have to be evacuated during WWII, Marjorie finds out that she's to be sent to live with relatives in Canada--and she's terrified. Her parents died in a sailboat accident, and Marjorie has avoided the water ever since. By chance, Marjorie and Shona meet in the train station as Marjorie is on her way to the port and Shona is being evacuated to the country. They make a split-second decision to trade places (after all, the war will only last for a few months, right?). The ramifications will change many lives forever.This was a children's story of triumph during wartime, reflecting the attitudes of the adults during that time. Without complaining or dwelling on her deprivations, Marjorie planted a victory garden, knitted scarves for soldiers, and followed the strict blackout rules. Yet in the meantime she and her friends were children: going to school, ice skating, wondering about the abandoned house down the street, etc. Lovely story.

  • Jacqueline
    2019-05-30 04:09

    OK. So, I read this in Reading last year, for the holocaust unit. It was OK, but I didn't really think it had anything to do with the holocaust. Whatever :) Still, it was interesting, but kind of stupid. The ending.... I just can't imagine someone actually just saying, "Oh, yeah, you won't give me my life back? That's cool. Awesome!" It seemed like the author was just searching for a way to end the story, and that was the best she could come up with. I was truly irritated. I, at least, would be very curious about my past, if someone had found the house my mother had lived in, something I had been trying to do FOREVER. And discovering who painted the painting of the house? How could you not care? That's what irked me. All in all, it's a decent book, but just come up with your own ending, alright?

  • Heather
    2019-05-29 11:13

    What an unusual book. Its 1939 and 2 friends are about to be to unknown relatives in Canada and the other to the country. They change clothes and places....Neither of them realise the War will last 6 years not a few months, so both their lives change dramatically. Marjorie (now known as Shona) is evacuated to the country with Anna, (another orphanage girl) and they stay with the Misses Campbell. What Marjorie looses in material things she gains in family and friendship. I cant help feeling Marjorie gained more from the switch than Shona. I wont spoil the ending...but I didnt guess it. Very good book.

  • Karen
    2019-06-07 10:06

    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.

  • Aimee
    2019-06-14 10:50

    In Edinburgh in 1939, 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. marjorie is afraid that Anna will reveal the deception, but the rather slow, trusting Anna accepts the replacement Shona and doesn't ask for details. The other children are so excited by their evacuation that they pay no mind to the impostor in their midst.Eventually, Marjorie and Anna are placed in the care of the identical Campbell twins, Miss Morag and Miss Agnes, in a small village. 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." And that seems to put the matter to rest.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? 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.

  • Jen
    2019-06-08 07:13

    one of my favorite WW2 stories. It's a fun adventure. It's not what you think it is. It's a good mystery and it has a satisfying ending.

  • Pauline
    2019-05-25 11:54

    I read this book aloud to my daughters in 1990 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 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.

  • Donnell
    2019-06-15 09:12

    Quite engrossing. Liked the setting--World War II era Scotland beginning in September 1939. 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 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.e. the lives they had or the roads not taken? Do not like that Marjorie can never go home again.

  • Amy Flink
    2019-06-17 09:47

    I first tried to read this book when I was 9 or 10. 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. **SPOILER ALERT** I read it and really enjoyed it but like other readers say, I am bothered by the ending. 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 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. So interesting!

  • Elizabeth
    2019-06-01 05:09

    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, and domestic life.

  • Cynthia Egbert
    2019-06-04 10:06

    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. 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.

  • Cameo S
    2019-06-12 10:58

    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.

  • Angela
    2019-06-07 07:04

    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.

  • Kas
    2019-06-03 04:02

    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. 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!

  • Louisa
    2019-05-27 05:13

    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.

  • Nichole
    2019-05-17 04:07

    I read this book as a child and have been trying to remember the title for YEARS. 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.

  • Sydney
    2019-06-10 05:53

    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. (view spoiler)[I hated the fact that Margaret tried to re switch with Shona, but Shona refused and Margaret was stuck at being Shona forever. (hide spoiler)]

  • Scar
    2019-06-04 12:15

    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.) friends. 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.

  • Liz Gibbs
    2019-06-03 05:51

    A fun story about a rich orphan and a poor orphan who switch places during the war with the intention of finding each other when it is over in order to return to their own lives. The mystery behind Shona's past makes the book even better!

  • Clearwater Public Library Staff Picks
    2019-06-08 07:06

    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!

  • Cynthia
    2019-06-07 10:02

    This book is truely amazing, you noe I read it when i was in grade three, now im 19 years old and im still looking for it i want to understand it mush better because it still haunts me and the story is just too amazing. Its a strange story both too weird and too interesting.God bless the author

  • Bridget
    2019-06-05 07:58

    I am relieved to find that this book actually exists. It always kind of freaked me out when I was a kid and I was beginning to think it was just a strange recurring nightmare. Most disturbing, perhaps, is the strange way "Shona" is spelled.

  • Christina
    2019-06-02 09:10

    I was given this book by my Aunt Darlene when I was maybe in 3rd grade. It was the first World War II novel I read, and since then I was hooked. The book has moved with me several times and finally I reread it last night. It's a sweet story and I recommend it to all readers.

  • Sarah
    2019-06-01 05:59

    Historical Fiction set in World War 2.This story about exchanged identities and a mystery of Shona's past creates a coming of age story that haunted me years after I first read it. I've read this book several times because of the powerful ending.

  • Maria
    2019-05-24 07:15

    This is a surprising slice-of-life story about children's experiences evacuating to the country during WWII.

  • Janis
    2019-05-30 11:51

    Loved this book which I read as an adult. Can't believe they never made a movie or Wonderworks from it. The plot did not go where I expected. Loved it.