Sunday, October 06, 2019

The Penderwicks at Last

The Penderwicks at Last. Jeanne Birdsall. 2018. 256 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Lydia believed in dancing wherever she could—on sidewalks, in supermarket aisles, libraries, swimming pools, parking lots. Today her stage was a bench at the bus stop.

Premise/plot: Lydia Penderwick narrates the fifth installment of the series by Jeanne Birdsall. When readers last visited the family, Lydia was a princess obsessed toddler—a pest of a sister. Now Lydia is a fifth grader obsessed with all things dance. (Though oddly enough one who will not take dance classes because she wants to dance her way and only her way. Who needs instruction and critique when you could just watch movies and videos?! That is her thinking. But I’m not sure it is all that smart if you want to be a dancer.) It is summer and the family is returning to Arundel, to Jeffrey’s estate. They’ve been assured that Mrs. Tifton is never, never there—she lives in New York now. They are there to celebrate a wedding. Rosalind is marrying Tommy Geiger. Lydia is making fast friends with Cagney’s daughter Alice—also a sheep named Blossom. Lydia is rumored to like just about anyone...will that prove true when she meets Mrs. Tifton?!

My thoughts: I enjoyed this one. I loved, loved, loved a few things about it. Though it was not giddy-making cover to cover perhaps. I appreciated the playful nods to classic literature. From the start I saw the Alcott elements. Though thankfully there is no Beth-like character!!! But Batty has always, always, always reminded me of Amy. Therefore I have long predicted that somehow, some way she and Jeffrey (the Laurie character) would end up falling for each other. This doesn’t happen really-truly in this one, but it is strongly hinted at. The sisters have a feeling that these two will get together because they are obviously soul mates. There is a scene that screams out Pride and Prejudice—Mrs. Tifton demands, commands that they swear absolutely that no Penderwick sister will ever ever ever marry Jeffrey. They refuse. Who Skye ends up with does not surprise me either—given who Jo ended up with in Little Women.

So overall I enjoyed it...

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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