Some time ago, I read the 4 novels of the Cazalet Chronicles by Elizabeth Jane Howard about 2 upper middle-class families in Britain (mainly the London area) between 1937 and 1947.
By contrast, this novel is set in Northern England during the summer of 1946 and is centered around 3 young women in their late teens who, through competitive examinations, have won scholarships to elite universities (Cambridge and the University of London). Two of them - Hetty Fellowes and Una Vane - were childhood friends. The third --- Lieselotte Klein --- is a German Jew from Hamburg who was fortunate enough to escape to Britain via the Kindertransport shortly before the outbreak of war in 1939. She was brought to the town where Hetty and Una lived, attended school with them, and lived with a Quaker family. However, after a prolonged search to see if any of her family survived the Holocaust, Lieselotte moves to London, where she is placed with an Austrian Jewish couple, the Feldmans. The novel gives the reader a view into the lives of Hetty, Una, and Lieselotte, who each embark upon a voyage of self-discovery as the summer melts into autumn. Each experiences a rite of passage that tests their resolve to forge a future largely of their own making in a chaotic world struggling to learn anew the ways of peace.