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It is 1940, the time of the Phoney War. Britain stands alone with German invaders waiting across the Channel and an anxious population preparing for the bloody battle ahead. In an isolated girls' boarding school, Judy Randall watches the encroachment of the war with a mixture of fascination and fear. She is sixteen-years-old, an anarchic misfit in an institution which prizes rule-keeping and conformity; a Catholic with a Jewish heritage when anti-Semitism is still commonplace and – most inconveniently of all – autistic at a time when her behavior is misunderstood as merely eccentric and insolent.
Bored and frustrated by her inability to help the war effort, Judy becomes obsessed with the idea that her hated headmistress is a Nazi and she goes to increasingly reckless lengths to prove her theory. In the meantime, the adults of the school busy themselves planning how best to protect the children in their care if occupying forces overrun the country. For John Peterson, modern languages teacher and part of a generation who have seen armed conflict before, his own agonizing history forces him to consider what sacrifices he might have to make if the horrors of the war overtake them all…
A Most Dangerous Innocence offers a glimpse into the early days of the Second World War, seen from a sleepy corner of Britain. It is also a meditation on childhood guilt, innocence, loyalty and the courage to stand alone.