Stephie does quite a lot of growing up and finding herself in this volume. Her friend from the island, Vera, is in Goteborg, but they are clearly headed in different directions. We learn about Aunt Marta's own daughter and her tragic death. Sophie meets other Jewish refugees and visits the Jewish Children's home in downtown Goteborg. She makes the difficult decision to leave the Protestant church she had joined for Aunt Marta's sake and gets closer to her Jewish culture. Stephie comes to the heartbreaking realization that life will never be the same for her family again -- this is something the reader has known, and deep down, Stephie has probably known but not completely acknowledged to herself. Even when the war is over (which still seems quite far away with German submarines plying the coast of Sweden), things won't be the way they were. This understated tone seems very Swedish to me. There is much deep emotional content, but it's not all spelled out. There is so much depth in between the relatively straightforward lines of the story -- of what is actually going on with Vera, between Stephie's favorite teacher and her girl friend who visits for the summer, and within Stephie as she tries to reach out to Nellie but also sees a distant past and future that will be strikingly different.
I believe there is one more book in Thor's quartet about the Steiner sisters. I'm tempted to try to learn Swedish so I can go ahead and find out what happens to Stephie. Thank you Delacorte Press for bringing these books across the ocean and please be working on the next one!
Deep Sea by Annika Thor was translated from the Swedish by Linda Schenck. Delacorte Press, 2015. Originally published in Sweden in 1998. Companion to A Faraway Island (Batchelder Award) and The Lily Pond (Batchelder Honor).