Hemingway, Edith M. 2009. Road to Tater Hill. Random House. 213 pages.
For months I had wished and wished the baby would be a girl, a little sister. Maybe I shouldn't have wished so hard. A boy might have lived.
The year is 1963. The summer of 1963. And Annie's got some growing up to do. Fortunately, she won't be all on her own. This will be a time of growth and healing for all.
This one had me at hello. From the very first paragraph, I was drawn into Annie's story. Annie is eleven and carrying a heavy burden of grief and worry. Her father is in the military--and he's overseas. Her mother just had her baby prematurely. Mary Kate. Her sister's name was Mary Kate. But she lived only a day. These two (mother and daughter) are staying with her grandparents. Will grief bring this family together or tear it apart?
Annie often goes off on her own. And on one of her trips, she finds a rock baby. A baby just the right size, right weight. She wraps it in the precious yellow blanket--the blanket she made for her new sister--and holds it. But that's not all she finds in her explorations. She also discovers an older woman living in a mess of a house--more of a shack than a proper house. A woman, Eliza McGee, with issues of her own. Alone, both seem a bit hopeless. As these two come together, healing begins. It's a great story of inter-generational friendship. A really great story.
If you're looking for a family-friendly, coming-of-age novel (that happens to be historical) then I really recommend this one. I loved so many things about it. I loved the fact that both Annie and Eliza love to read. That both draw power from words. From stories. I loved the use of poetry and literature in the book. (How absorbed Annie becomes in A Wrinkle in Time.)
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
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