Saturday, December 18, 2010

Another Madden Maggie Valley Novel

If you read Gentle’s Holler, you may be like me, ready to slide your feet under the supper table at the home of the Weems family just up the mountain from Maggie Valley, North Carolina. From Livy Two to Gentle to Grandma Horace, to Uncle Hazard, the family dog, these warm and irresistible characters will capture your heart and have you cheering for them.

I’m glad I won’t have to wait to see what happens next. The sequel is already on the book shelves.

JESSIE’S MOUNTAIN, by Kerry Madden, Viking, 2008

It’s 1963. Winter is harsh in the mountains, but even the bitter cold can’t suck the heat out of Livy Two’s enthusiasm for traveling to Nashville to sell her songs and save the family future. Daddy isn’t well enough to work and Grandma Horace is pressuring her daughter, Jessie, to move the family to her home in Enka.

Livy Two has other plans. She thinks selling her songs to pay the back rent and other debts will be just the miracle she needs.

Grandma Horace gives Livy Two her mother’s long forgotten diary, and this plays a part in the outcome of the third novel, but I won’t spoil it for you. Privacy issues among the generations loom large.

This, in my opinion, is the best of the three Maggie Valley novels as it mirrors the stronger, sassier growth and development of Livy Two. Mothers looking for “wholesome” novels for their middle grade daughters, ages 10 and up, will be thrilled with these books–but I don’t want to ruin their appeal by calling them wholesome. They are fun, busy, delightful, warm hearted, with realistic relationships. The kids treat each other like real human beings, bantering, arguing, fussing, but cuddling and standing behind each other, no matter what, proving once again that real riches have nothing to do with dollars.

And lucky us, we have a third novel to enjoy.

Monday: Louisiana’s Song

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