In the summer of 1937, Anya Rosen and her family have settled into life in colonial Shanghai. The year before, in a terrifying scene with a Communist official, her father, a well-to-do Odessa businessman, refused to become a member of the party. Afterward, flight was the only option.
Even in exile, Anya lives an upper-middle-class life in this busy Jewish enclave. She has a new bicycle, and bravely pedals everywhere, an expression of freedom dedicated to her heroine, Amelia Earhart. But although the Rosens are comfortable, no one is really happy. Anya’s opera star mother remains upset after her forced retirement, while Anya’s grandparents cling to their old-fashioned ways and present a constant challenge to the rest of the family. As Anya goes to school, develops crushes, and struggles to adapt to her exotic surroundings, she finds comfort in her new community – including Li Mei, the strong-minded family servant. There is a unique and interesting “village” helping Anya grow up.
Although I never entirely warmed to the characters, Anya’s War was an intriguing look at three generations as seen through the eyes of a young teen during a dangerous time.