Friday, May 2, 2008

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street

Have you ever read a book where you actually sighed aloud with utter satisfaction?  The Penderwicks on Gardam Street was such a book.  Reminding me of my very favorite authors- Enright, Eager, Estes, Brink-while filled with completely unique characters, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, was both familiar and fresh.

This book is a sequel to The Penderwicks and, as much as I enjoyed the first book, I completely loved the second book.  After a brief preface, the sequel picks up the autumn where the first book left off.  The girls' favorite aunt comes to visit with an earth-shattering mission- she wants the girls' beloved father to begin dating again for the first time since his wife passed away from cancer.  The aunt requires that he go on four dates before he give up the dating idea.  The sisters are greatly opposed to the idea of a stepmother so this inspires the creative sisters to come up with a "Save-Daddy Plan" to set him up on four terrible dates.  Of course, hijinks ensue (including an adorable inside joke for Jane Austen fans) and although the reader can probably confidently predict the ending, it's getting there that's the fun! 

The book was so wonderful!  I loved the main plot, I loved the subplots and I loved loved the characters!  My personal taste in books leads to what my fiancé calls "slice of life" plots- books where there are neither magic and suspense nor tragedies and drama- just little, identifiable snapshots of everyday living.  Examples of these authors are Eleanor Estes, Elizabeth Enright, Carol Ryrie Brink, Patricia MacLachlan and I think Jeanne Birdsall can now be classed with these other captivating, favorite storytellers.  The only parts of the book I didn't care for, in fact, are the parts where it did get into drama and tragedy when recalling the mother's death from cancer.  Fortunately, that didn't happen too much so I was able to curl up and completely eat up the book with every bit of delight.  Definitely a book I'm rotating into my revolving favorite-book-list (books that I read over and over and over...).

Thank you SO MUCH, Ms. Birdsall, for giving me such an enchanting reading experience!  I've read on your blog that you plan to write three more books and I can't wait!