Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Way Behind....14 Books in One Post

I'll admit it. I'm woefully way behind in blogging about the books I've read. Rather than face the task of catching up I will list additional books here with a 1 - 5 star rating and a few keywords.

The Visits of Elizabeth by Elinor Glyn (who figures as a character in The Dressmaker). **** Tags: funny, England, France, quirky characters.

The First Four Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. *** Tags: children's lit, read more than once, family saga, prairie. I'll never understand why Carrie did not come to help Laura when she was pregnant or after the baby was born.

Palmerino by Melissa Pritchard. **** Tags: quirky characters, Italy, historical fiction. A strange book.

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. **** Tags: quirky characters, funny, audiobook, asperger's syndrome.

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. ***** Tags: favorite, childrens lit classic, read more than once, family saga. What a jewel. What a gem.

Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin. **** Tags: quirky characters, England, something dark, coming of age, death and dying, governess, historical fiction. A haunting book.

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. **** Tags: favorite, quirky characters, book to film, something dark, funny, coming of age, death and dying. I carried this book everywhere with me when I was on vacation. So many people stopped me to talk about it. A cool, connective experience.

Under the Lilacs by Louisa May Alcott. *** tags: quirky characters, children's lit, funny, small town, orphans, new england, dogs, alcott. SOmeday I will run out of Alcott books to read. Someday.

Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. **** Tags: favorite: children's lit classic, read more than once, family saga, prairie.

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley. **** Tags: favorite, mystery, quirky characters, england, something dark, funny, small town. SUCH a fun book.

Sleeping Beauty by C. S. Evans, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. *** Tags: children's lit, something dark. Believe it or not, I read this online via the Library of Congress at

By the Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder. **** Tags: favorite, childrens lit classic, read more than once, Newbery Honor, prairie.

The Ivy Tree by Mary Stewart. *** Tags: mystery, quirky characters, England, something dark, orphans, death and dying.

How to Be an American Housewife by Margaret Dilloway. *** Tags: quirky characters, funny, coming of age, family saga, audiobook, wwii.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Her Royal Spyness

Finished Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen. Set in the 1930s, this is a cozy mystery that’s a mix of Nancy Drew, Downton Abbey, and P. G. Wodehouse. It’s fun, funny, light and highly entertaining. I listened to an audiobook recording read by Katherine Kellgren.

My Salinger Year

Finished My Salinger Year by Joanna Rakoff. In the mid 90s, Rakoff spent a year working at a literary agency in New York as an agent’s assistant. The agent just happened to be J. D. Salinger’s agent. Rakoff describes the intricate dance of antiquated protocol the agency demanded of its staff and the lengths they went to to protect Salinger from his adoring public. This is a wonderful memoir that reads like a novel. Highly recommended.

Garden Spells

Finished Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. This was a wonderful bit of magical realism. Claire Waverley lives in her grandmother’s old house, cooking her grandmother’s recipes and tending her grandmother’s enchanted garden. Claire has a lot of scars. As a young child, she and her mother roamed the country living wherever they could, often in homeless shelters. When her little sister was born her mother retuned home to give her daughters some stability. She eventually left them with their grandmother and was soon after killed in a car accident.

Claire keeps to herself living a quiet life. She runs a catering business that is rather unique. The Waverleys’ have a reputation for knowing far more than the ordinary town folk. Claire’s grandmother’s recipes contain flowers and herbs that give those who eat them courage, insight, even love. The apple tree in the Waverley’s garden is especially gifted and even figures as a character in the novel. When Claire’s younger sister Sydney appears after ten year’s absence, Claire’s world is thrown off kilter. Claire of course takes them in.

This was a lovely book.

Shelter Me

Finished Shelter Me by Juliette Fay. Janie LaMarche is newly widowed. She has two small children and is mad as hell. Various well meaning people try to assuage her grief with advice, food, and self defense classes. When Tug Malinowski knocks on her door to discuss the surprise front porch her husband planned before his sudden death, she is speechless. She is almost as loquacious when Father Jake, a young Catholic priest, makes his weekly visit bringing his own tea bag. As Janie’s icy rage begins to thaw, her friendships with these two men plot the course for the rest of her life. While certainly somber at times, this book is pretty hilarious. Fay has a flair for humor and certainly knows her way around the roadmap of human emotions. I really enjoyed reading this book, picking it up often to see what would happen next. I also enjoyed her second novel, Deep Down True.

On the Banks of Plum Creek

Finished On the Banks of Plum Creek, the fourth book in Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series. It won the Newbery Honor Medal in 1938. Laura is now seven. She and her family leave their home in Indian Territory in Kansas and travel to Minnesota. Here they settle in a sod dugout adjacent to Plum Creek. The dugout is homey and snug. Flowers grow in the outside of it and the sound of the burbling creek is ever-present. Plum Creek has many faces. In places it is shallow and calm, home to the grumpy old crab and minnows that nibble at Laura and Mary’s feet. But after a spring thaw it is a roiling, dangerous body that could carry little girls away. Laura learns this frightening lesson after disobeying her parents and playing in the creek when it is overfilled and rushing.

Because they are so close to town, Laura and Mary go to school for the first time. Some of the other girls are quite nice, but here Laura meets her arch nemesis, Nellie Oleson. Wilder’s books, as well as the dramatization of them, have made Nellie Oleson the most notorious spoiled brat in the world.

Eventually Pa builds them a wooden house above ground and plants a large wheat crop that he has high hopes for. Sadly a great swarm of grasshoppers comes and destroys the crop and every speck of green around them. They lay their eggs in the ground promising that the next year will be just as bad. Pa must travel on foot, 300 miles to the east to work as a harvester in order to have money to pay towards the building materials for their new house and to buy supplies for the winter. He leaves mid-summer and does not return until winter sets in. Pa does this for two years. The second year he returns home in time to walk to town for supplies and Christmas candy. On the way home he is caught in a four days blizzard. Luckily he falls down the banks of the creek into a sheltered hollow and waits out the storm there. He becomes so hungry that he must eat the Christmas candy he bought for Laura, Mary and Carrie. When he returns to them the girls are glad that he ate the candy, glad that it brought him some relief during his blizzard experience.

Quite a lot happens in the book in terms of Ingalls family lore. It was perhaps my second favorite when I was growing up. The idea of living alongside a creek was always very appealing.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Jackie by Josie

Finished Jackie by Josie by Caroline Preston. I love Preston's books. I finished this several months ago, but have fallen way behind in my blogging. Looking at my Shelfari tags for the book, I used: funny, small town, and New England. The book addresses academia, grad school, long distance relationships, parenting and alcoholism. It's a fun, intricate read.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Dressmaker

Finished The Dressmaker by Kate Alcott. The novel imagines the experiences and fates of people who survived the sinking of The Titanic. The main character, Tess, is a gifted seamstress stuck in household service. She dreams of going to America and trying her luck at dressmaking there. She quits her job and heads to the docks where a new luxury liner is preparing to leave. Ready to embark is Lady Lucile Duff Gordon, who is dismayed to learn that her personal maid has not shown up for the voyage.

Tess overhears this predicament and offers her services as maid. Lucy Duff Gordon accepts her on trial and the voyage begins. Lucky for Tess, Lucy just happens to be the designer know as Lucille. She is on her way to New York to show her new spring collection. Tess wastes no time in letting Lucy know of her dressmaking skills. The two begin an employer/employee relationship that tests their loyalties and personal integrity numerous times.

This was an interesting book. I knew very little about the sinking if The Titanic. The story examines the facts and the aftermath of the event while imagining their impact on those who experienced it. Lucy's sister, British novelist Elinor Glynn, makes several appearances in the novel.

A Hundred Summers

Finished A Hundred Summers by Beatriz Williams. This book examines the past and present of Lily Dane. Although set in the summer of 1938, much of the story is told in flashback. Lily's family is monied and imporant. She attends Smith College with her best friend Budgie. When the two travel up to Dartmouth to see Budgie's boyfriend play football, Lily is introduced to Nick Greenwald. The two fall for each other almost instantly. When Lily brings Nick home to meet her parents she misinterprets her father's objection to their relationship. Lily and Nick run off to elope, but are foiled in their plans.

Seven years later, Lily travels with her mother and much younger sister to Seaview, Rhode Island, the family's summer retreat. She and all of Seaview are stunned when the now married Budgie and Nick arrive to open and remodel Budgie's derelict family home. Secrets and misplaced loyalties weave in and out of this story. It all comes to an enormous climax when the deadly hurricane of 1938 barrels up the New England coast, acting as a deus ex machina. This was a good read, filled with palpable tension that built as the event of the hurricane got closer. I look forward to reading more of Williams' novels.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

These Happy Golden Years

Finished These Happy Golden Years, the eighth book in Laura Ingalls Wilder's series. It won the Newbery Honor Medal in 1944. Laura is fifteen now and teaching school in the Brewster settlement. She boards with the Brewsters in the tiny claim shanty. Mrs. Brewster is a bit mad. She is bitter and resentful of the family's situation and does not like having Laura in the house. She is a miserable, even dangerous person. This is all so shocking to Laura who has only ever had Ma and Pa's firm but kind example. Laura dreads the weekends in the house with this family, but is rescued from the situation by Almanzo Wilder, who travels the twelve miles each way, twice every weekend, to bring her home and then back to the settlement for her next week of teaching.

The money Laura earns from teaching goes to pay for Mary's attendance at The College for the Blind. Thankfully her teaching assignment is only two months long. Laura is surprised when Almanzo invites her for sled and buggy rides and to attend singing school with him. Laura works for a seamstress, Mrs. McKee, and lives with her and her children one summer on the McKee's claim to help out and keep her company. Mary comes home from college for a visit. She is a grown young woman now, with many accomplishments, despite her blindness.

After three years of courting, Almanzo proposes to Laura and she accepts. He builds them a house to live in and they marry in a hurry to prevent his mother and sister descending upon them to insist on a big church wedding. Ma helps Laura make clothes and linens for her new home. Almanzo and Laura are quietly married and drive away to their own little house on the prairie.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

We Are All Welcome Here

Finished We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg. Set in 1950s Mississippi, this is a poignant coming of age novel. Diana lives with her mother Paige who contracted Polio while she was pregnant and can now only move her head. Paige's father left them after she was born (scumbag). Paige spent the first part of her daughter's life in an iron lung. She was fiercely determined to be free of it and just as fiercely determined to raise her daughter, despite the urging of well meaning people for Paige to put Diana up for adoption.

Paige is raising her daughter, but not without help. Peacie comes every day to wash, dress and move Paige to her wheelchair. She does the cooking and housework, the shopping and a good bit of parenting as well. Piecie's boyfriend, LaRue, helps out a lot as well. Piecie is hard as nails, and Diana has many disagreements with her, but to Diana, LaRue is a prince. He's friendly, kind and dapper.

The mother and daughter have help from others in town who keep them on their radar and lend a hand. Money is tight though. Paige is not supposed to be alone at night. She employs another woman to get her to bed, but uses the balance of her the disability money she receives for groceries instead of a night attendant. Eventually things fall apart. Paige becomes ill and has to be hospitalized, their social worker finds out that there is no all night attendant, the sheriff discovers that Peacie is taking care of Diana at her house and warns her that this cannot continue. In the midst of all this LaRue gets caught up in local Civil Rights demonstrations. This book is electrically charged with difficult situations. Diana faces many adult issues as a young teen and must grow up quickly amidst personal and community turmoil. I listened to an audiobook recording of this book, read by the author. I recommend it to fans of Berg's work.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure

Finished Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure by Joanne Harris. This is the third book in her Chocolat series. My daughter bought it for me for Christmas thinking it was just a sequel. Neither of us realized that there was also a book in between, The Lollipop Shoes. Vianne, now living on a houseboat in Paris with Roux and her two daughters, receives a letter from her long dead friend Armande. Armande warns of trouble brewing in Lansquenet. She foretells that Vianne will be the one to help. Vianne retunds to the village with her daughters and find things very much changed and yet somehow the same. She makes unlikely allies and tries her best to ease broken ties between families and the community as a whole. Plenty of lovely magical realism here. Highly recommended to fans of Chocolat. I did not get the sense that I missed important plot points reading these out of order. I look forward to reading the middle book some time soon.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The Joy Luck Club

Finished The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. This book has been on my TBR list for a very long time. I actually listened to an audiobook recording of it. At times I got a bit confused because there were so many different female characters and I could not refer to the text to get things straight. It's a bit like a Chinese Forsyte Saga. A character tree would have been helpful.

This multi-generational tale tells the story of each mother/daughter pair in their own voices. The voices and stories of the mothers who were born in China were far more interesting to me me than the stories of their daughters born in the states. Much of the book was bleak and so it was a long haul for me.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

The Sugar Queen

Finished The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen. This was a fun and charming bit of magical realism.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Little Town on the Prairie

Finished Little Town on the Prairie, the seventh book in Laura Ingalls Wilder's classic series. It won the Newbery Honor Medal in 1942. As a child I remember liking the cover of this book the best of all the series. The colors and the closeness that Garth Williams captures radiate a warm glow after The Long Winter. The family prepares to send Mary to The College for the Blind in Iowa. Laura knows that she must work hard to gain a teaching certificate in order to earn money for Mary's tuition and board. While studying hard is not new to Laura, new distractions present themselves. De Smet's population has grown enough that various social events start popping up. Laura is caught up in the gayety of it all and starts to fall behind. Also, to Ma's surprise, fifteen year old Laura has an admirer, Almanzo Wilder. Laura seems perched delicately between childhood and womanhood when the sudden need for a teacher in a settlement 12 miles away changes everything.

Wildly Affordable Organic

Finished Wildly Affordable Organic: Eat Fabulous Food, Get Healthy, and Save the Planet--All on $5 a Day or Less by Linda Watson. This book had a lot of good ideas on thrifty ways to eat organically. Sometimes it was a bit too thrifty for me. Also, the author does not take into account the issue of urban food deserts. However, for anyone who feels overwhelmed by shopping at places like "Whole Paycheck," there are great tips about avoiding that all together.

Mad About the Boy

Finished Mad About the Boy, the third book in Helen Fielding's series about Bridget Jones. This was a hilarious, laugh out loud book. Although there is much to be sad about in Bridget's life these days, she herself has not changed a lick. I don't want to put any spoilers in here. Just know that I recommend it highly.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Long Winter

Finished The Long Winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder. It won the Newbery Honor Medal in 1941. There is no telling how many times I have read this book, or the whole series for that matter, but it's been about 17 years since I last read it, aloud, to my then four year old daughter. I chose to revisit the book since we ourselves were having a long, hard winter here in Michigan and it just seemed like the right thing to do.

I remembered many details of the book, set in the winter of 1880-81: the twisting of hay to burn as fuel, the hole in the wall that hid Almanzo's secret seed wheat, the scarcity of food, and the relentless blizzards. What I did not remember are the now terrifying side effects of it all, the emaciation of the whole family and the resulting brain fog. I think as a child it didn't really register. You knew it was a hard time, but the direness of it was what really stood out with this reading. What a relief when it finally ended with the spring thaw in May 1881.

Meanwhile it's April 15th, 2014. We broke the 1880 snowfall record last night, totaling 97" for this year. Enough already...

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

The Secret Adversary

Finished The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie. This is the first novel in her Tommy and Tuppence series. Cousins and life long friends Tommy and Tuppence run into each other in London after World War I. Both are down on their luck. They devise a scheme to make money by offering their brains and legwork to anyone who might need it. And someone does. They are drawn into an international plot. They meet many people who are eager to help them, but whose loyalty is suspect. Their cleverness and quick thinking get them out of numerous scrapes and in almost losing each other, they realize their true feelings. This was a fun, quick, adventurous book.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Betsy's Wedding

Finished Betsy's Wedding, the tenth and final book in Maud Hart Lovelace's Betsy-Tacy series. Betsy returns from her trip to Europe on the cusp of World War I. Joe is there to meet her at the dock. They have a lovely day together in New York City and Joe proposes. He wants to get married right away, but Betsy worries what her family will think of this idea. She returns to Minneapolis and breaks the news to them. They are skeptical of the rush, especially her father. But Joe soon arrives, secures himself a journalism post locally, and the two are quickly and happily wed.

Betsy enjoys most of her early attempts at housekeeping, with the exception of cooking. She has no experience or flair for it. On the one hand this is understandable since the "hired girl" Anna did most of this when Betsy was growing up. On the other hand, Betsy's father knows his way around the kitchen, hosting and preparing Sunday Night Lunch for all and sundry every week. It also seems odd to me that Betsy's mother and/or Anna left her so unprepared in this area. Betsy's friends Tacy and Tib can cook. But looking back over the series I do not remember Betsy lifting a finger in the kitchen. Needless to say, she has many failures, but Joe is patient and cheerful and is pretty good in the kitchen himself. With time and help Betsy learns her way and even has several "company dinners" in her repertoire.

Betsy and Joe buy a little house and are so very happy in it. Joe works nights and Betsy adapts her own schedule to have meals and slumber with him. Their next challenge comes when Joe's Aunt who raised him decides to retire and sells her country home and store. She has nowhere to go. Although Betsy hates to give up their private little nest, she and Joe invite Aunt Ruth to come and live with them.

As always, I enjoyed this installment in the series. Betsy and Joe grapple with budgeting and family obligations, like any newly married couple. The book is cheerful, and interesting in context. I'm sorry the series is over, but there are three related books to read next, Carney's House Party, Emily of Deep Valley, and Winona's Pony Cart.

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt: 55 Letters and the 111 Blocks They Inspired

Finished The Farmer's Wife Sampler Quilt: 55 Letters and the 111 Blocks They Inspired. Once upon a time there was a magazine entitled The Farmer's Wife. Back in 1922 they asked their readership, "If you had a daughter of marriageable age, would you, in light of your own experience, have her marry a farmer?" The response was overwhelmingly positive.

Women wrote letters about the fresh food, clean living, fresh air, good books, recordings of fine music, games, etc. that occupied family evenings once all the chores were done. They saw farming as a noble profession and mentioned the many time and labor saving devices that had improved the lot of the farmer's wife. This book features many of these letters as well as quilt block patterns, that when sewn all together, comprise The Farmer's Wife Quilt. The letters are charming and uplifting. The illustrations and quilt block assembly instructions clear and easy to follow. The book also includes a CD with pattern templates for quilters to print and use. The cover and the illustrations show drab, dark fabrics. I cannot wait to make one of these quilts with bright, happy, vibrant fabrics.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Quartet in Autumn

Finished Quartet in Autumn by Barbara Pym. It was published in 1977, a good fifteen years after her previous novel No Fond Return of Love. Set very much in the 70s, it is the story of four aging office workers, Marcia, Letty, Norman, and Edwin, on the verge of retirement. All live alone in their own quirky lives. Contemporary music, hairstyles and fashion perplex these people as does what to do with their future. When the two women retire events take an unexpected turn. While there were moments of humor in this book, it was not laced with the Pym wit I am accustomed to. This story, though still populated with vicars, is a bleak departure from her earlier novels. Her miniscule attention to the drab daily details of peoples lives is still there, but there were no hoped for cameos of characters from previous works. I liked the book, even in it's bleakness.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The Provincial Lady in Wartime

Finished The Provincial Lady in Wartime by E. M. Delafield. Sadly, this is the last book in the series. It is the fall of 1939 and World War II has just begun. The Provincial Lady takes a flat in London and applies herself all over the place in search of some sort of war work or writing assignment.

Meanwhile, preparations for air raids ensue. Of course the Provincial Lady loses her gas mask and National Identity Card and must go through all sorts of bureaucracy to obtain replacements.

No one seems to need her help in the war effort. She eventually finds a position working in the canteen of an underground ambulance headquarters. Many odd-ball characters are met and several parties take place. Nothing has really happened yet though. No bombings, no casualties. Just a lot of people drinking coffee and tea, playing cards and dancing while the ambulances wait patiently.

The book ends with her finally being summoned to serve her country from a journalistic perspective. This was clearly finished and printed before The Blitz. Sitting about waiting for the war to happen...such a contrast to what happened once the bombing began.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Cherry Ames: Veterans' Nurse

Finished Cherry Ames Veterans' Nurse by Helen Wells. This is a book from my childhood. I remember liking it very much. When I found myself without a bedtime book a few weeks ago, I picked it up to see what it was like. This is a series, much like the Nancy Drew books. The central character is a young woman who has a talent for solving mysteries. This was the sixth book in a series of 27 published between 1943 and 1968. Cherry is an upbeat, pretty, intelligent girl who has a penchant for doing what is right. Each book in the series has her stationed someplace new in a unique nursing role. In this book she is stationed at a veteran's hospital looking after soldiers who have been wounded in combat, some of them quite gravely. The tone of the hospital is encouraging. Their mission is to help patients heal emotionally as well as physically from their wounds. Those who have lost limbs learn to use prostheses and are trained in new job skills. Cherry works hard to keep her patients' morale high. She also works hard to find out who has been stealing the special and rare medication from the hospital's pharmacy. This was a pleasant bedtime read. I wonder why I did not read any other Cherry Ames mysteries when I was a kid. I may have to start at the beginning and check the whole series out.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Eat Move Sleep: Why Small Choices Lead to Big Changes

Finished Eat Move Sleep: Why Small Choices Lead to Big Changes by Tom Rath. Eat right, move more, sleep better. That's the whole thing in a nutshell. Nothing here that is not obvious, but some people need to hear it over and over again. I listened to the audiobook version of this, read by the author. I'm used to these types of books being upbeat and motivational. This one was a bit flat, a bit bleak. The information is all good and well presented. I personally didn't find it very inspirational. However, it was a New York Times bestseller.

Letters from Father Christmas

Finished Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien. This too was finished before Christmas proper. I'm still catching up on blogging about my books from December.

Between 1920 and 1942 Tolkien composed and illustrated letters to his children from Father Christmas. Each year there were several letters, discussing the preparations for the season, an ongoing war with the goblins, and the various scrapes that Father Christmas' assistant, Polar Bear, got himself into. Sometimes Polar Bear wrote comments in the margins of the letters, or postscripts to the children. Father Christmas' handwriting is very intricate and special, and his drawings are charmingly detailed. The children in their turn wrote back to Father Christmas and he often answered their various questions in the correspondence. What a lovely thing for a father to do for his children. This book would make a wonderful holiday gift for someone who is still a child at heart.

Monday, January 13, 2014

The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain

Finished The Haunted Man and the Ghost's Bargain, the last of Dickens' Christmas books. I finished it before Christmas, but am only blogging about it now. Professor Redlaw is a man with many painful and troubling memories. He is visited by a spirit in the shape of himself. This spirit offers to relieve Redlaw of the memories of all the painful slights he has received at the hands of others. Redlaw accepts this offer, but is told that it's outcome will spread to all those he comes into contact with. So, something that sounds like a good thing is really not good at all. Redlaw becomes cold, bitter and unsympathetic to those around him. As he moves among the people in his life, they too lose their patience and compassion. All but Milly. Milly is a beacon of light and understanding. Redlaw knows this and does what he can to shield her from his influence, but it matters not. She is unaffected by it. In fact, at one point Milly says "It is important to remember past sorrows and wrongs so that you can then forgive those responsible and, in doing so, unburden your soul and mature as a human being." This is of course the moral of the tale. It's certainly worth thinking about. Some of us carry perceived and actual slights around with us for years. Being capable of forgiveness is a quality of strength, although some things will always remain unforgivable.

The Bells of Christmas

Finished The Bells of Christmas by Virginia Hamilton. I actually finished it before Christmas, but I have gotten behind on my blog posts. The book is a richly illustrated by Lambert Davis. Jason Bell awaits the arrival of aunts and uncles and cousins to join his family to celebrate Christmas in Springfield, Ohio in 1880. This was a very comfortable, homey read. Hamilton has won many awards including the Newbery Medal in 1975 for M. C. Higgins the Great. I look forward to reading more of her books.

Thursday, January 2, 2014