Sunday, February 3, 2008

Miracles on Maple Hill

Miracles on Maple Hill by Virginia Sorensen

This is the kind of book I was afraid I was in for when I decided to read the Newbery books. The truth is that it was and it wasn’t. A white family, looking at the world, saying, “Oh gosh,” and “Oh golly,” facing issues like the son staying out too late and wondering where he is, facing how to get the big maple sugar crop in before it ruins, and lots and lots of “You can’t do that; you’re a girl.”

But it was also more. Dad was thought killed after time in a war camp, but he returns home, safe but scarred. Marly, the ten-year-old daughter, doesn’t listen to all the warnings about girls being unable to do things. Moving to the country heals. The family develops a deep friendship with an elderly couple nearby. The couple is warm and loving, but does not come across as overly false.

The details about maple sugaring are fun and new. The family heals, and reading about that process feels good. Yes, there are (sorry) sappy parts, but they, too, feel part of the time in which the story was written. Refreshing, somehow.

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