Let me begin by saying that Cleave is a very good writer. He has a facility with metaphors, similes and images that is quite startling. I just found the plot (was there one?) to be worse than thin. You can read elsewhere what purports to happen, I’ll just note that it follows several characters as they experience the first couple years of WW II in Britain and Malta.
Some things just didn’t ring true. The racism experienced by Zachary brought South Carolina to mind, not pre-war England, there just weren’t that many blacks around, let alone American blacks. and I suspect that a black child moved to the country to escape the bombing would have been seen more as a curiosity rather than an object to be bullied.
Note that I was in the distinct minority in our reading club.