I chose this book from NetGalley because I am a fan of Annie Barrows. I appreciated the lovely job she did finishing the manuscript for her aunt on The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, but before this, my daughters and I had read many of the Ivy and Bean books, and also particularly loved The Magic Half. This was long before I started chronicling my reading on the internet, so they do not show up in any of my lists.
In any case, this book did not disappoint. I had the ebook on this one, but instead I listened to the audiobook. This was an exceptionally well-done version. The strong southern accents were a little off-putting to my northern self at first, but shortly thereafter they became more endearing. Definitely a winner if you like to listen to your books rather than read them.
This is a sweet story, with a small dose of intrigue and a lot of heart. It is a novel about growth and transformation, and secrets that may be better left untold. It is the classic clash between the sophisticated city girl and the country bumpkins, but I was rooting for them all. There are some interesting historical themes, but the real heroes here are the wonderful characters that Barrows brings so thoughtfully to life. They are stubborn and accommodating, cautious and unconventional, pious and charismatic. There is no outright star in this small-town cast, instead, it is the perfect ensemble, with each one in turn given their chance for the spotlight. You can probably figure out the secrets buried in this bit of mystery, but you will not want to do that. Instead, you will want to keep reading until the very last page is turned, and you will be glad, once again, to experience the pleasure of a good story, well-told.