Noel Streatfeild wrote books for adults, too! I realized when I was about 100 pages in that this was the same Noel Streatfeild who wrote the famous “Shoes” books for kids– Ballet Shoes, Dancing Shoes, Theater Shoes, etc. Saplings is yet another Persephone title, the tale of a family thriving pre-war and surviving during it. Alex and Lena are the adorable parents, but Lena goes to pieces when Alex is flattened by a bomb on their London home. The kids go to various pieces as well, and the four are farmed out to the aunts who aren’t terribly pleased to see them either. Lena takes up drinking, and cavorts around with a married American, Walter. Aunt Lindsay arrives to tell her she’s a drunkard who needs to shape up immediately, and Lena tries to kill herself, passed off to the kids as a nervous breakdown. The two oldest seem to suffer the most, but the younger two develop twitches and quirks of their own. It ends with Laurel expelled from school for a tale that her American solider lover gave her pearls when they were in reality a present from Aunt Lindsay’s hubby who runs off with Ruth, the kids’ ex-governness. Plots, drama, excitement, among war-time clothing shortages, gas rations, and other deprivations.