Birdsall, Jeanne. 2008. The Penderwicks on Gardam Street.
Sometimes it's best to read a book without having any preconceived ideas. All I've heard over and over again since this book has been released is how it is even better, even greater than the original. How people loved it just that much more. (I was expecting it to be a WoW book; one that just was so incredibly amazingly good that I wouldn't know what to do with myself.) So I think my expectations were just a tiny bit too high. That being said, I still loved it.
This second book, The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, picks up soon after the original concludes. The Penderwick family consists of: Mr. Penderwick (dad), Rosalind, Skye, Jane, Batty and Hound. The family has returned home. School has begun. Life is going on as usual...mostly. [They do have a new neighbor on their street. A single woman (widow) with a small child of her own.] Each child has their own drama going on; each has their own story line. One that weaves them all together (in a way) is the fact that their dad has started dating again. Each of the girls is a bit worried about that. Worried that he'll find someone he'll like. Worried that he'll find someone to marry. So they're not content to mind their own business. Lots of MOP meetings going on. Lots of schemes--some successful, some foiled.
I enjoyed this one. I did. I liked how the dad was able to fool everyone into thinking he was dating a "Marianne Dashwood." I liked the story of Jane and Skye. How they exchanged homework assignments with some rather unforeseen results. I loved Jane in general.
I enjoyed this book because I loved the characters. I loved the narrative. I loved how Birdsall wrote the story. The narrative voices. The language. The style. But I didn't love this one because of the plot. The plot was just incidental. I didn't like this plot more than the other. Didn't find it greater than the original. This novel is great because the characters are great. And that's the same way I felt about the first book. Neither book's plots stood out as amazing to me. But the characters did. So I loved both books.
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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