Thursday, March 7, 2013

Francesca of Lost Nation

This is the story of 9-year-old Sarah and her grandmother, Francesca, in the summer of 1947 in Lost Nation, Iowa. Sarah calls her by her given name, Francesca, because that's just what she's always done. Her father, who she calls Daddyboys, is a mechanic who works hard. Her mother, Rachael, who she refers to as mommy or mother, stays home and cooks all day, creating delicacies that are sold at Lost Nation's general store. Francesca and Sarah run the farm they live on. Sarah's mother and grandmother are total opposites. In her words, "By some accident of birth, they had been thrown together like clashing colors in a crazy quilt." (p. 12)

They live on a large piece of property they call Home Farm, which belongs to Francesca. She lived in the Main House with her husband until he died. Sarah's family lived in a smaller Bridal Cottage and moved into the Main House at that time to keep Francesca from being lonely.

One June day, Rachael, Sarah and Francesca could feel that something was going on. Daddyboys comes down to breakfast in a Sunday shirt and when Rachael asks him why he's dressed like that, he laughs, kisses her on the cheek and leaves. While Sarah and Francesca are out working on the farm, Hunny Clack, the Postmaster, sees them and asks them to take a special delivery envelope to Daddyboys. They take it to him at the garage and when he opens it, he smiles, but still won't tell them anything. A few days later he finally announces to his family that he won a writing contest and the prize was a trip to Paris for him and Rachael. They leave 8 days later and Sarah and Francesca were on their own for the summer. 

Shortly after that, the Sheriff comes to visit them and warns that there's an arsonist in the area and he wants his brother to stay out there with them so they'll be safe. Matthew moves into the Bridal Cottage but he's not friendly and they don't like him at first. He's a pilot that's trying to get over an accident that changed his life. He drinks a lot and isn't pleasant at first but changes over time. The summer is full of adventure, heartache, fun and change and is a good coming of age story.

I enjoyed this book. Sarah and Francesca have a great relationship that goes through some changes and they work through them and their bond strengthens. I enjoyed reading about their relationship the most. Francesca is quirky and full of secrets so she was the most interesting character to me. There are some dramatic family dynamics that cause tension and uncomfortableness and it's humorous to read them through a young girl's eyes. This book has a touch of everything: friendship, humor, romance, adventure, and mystery. Warning: There are some swear words.

A couple of quotes:
"Happiness is a treasure, Sarah, especially someone else's. It is therefore civilized behavior to think carefully before you set about spoiling it." (p. 27)

"It's a terrible thing when you discover something truly important about someone you love only after they're gone." (p. 90)

My Rating: 4 Stars

Well, this is the 1st book off my TBR: Ebook list so this is what it looks like now:

1. Beautiful Creatures, by Kami Garcia
2. Drops of Gold, by Sarah Eden
3. The False Prince, by Jennifer Nielsen
4. The Girl in the Gatehouse, by Julie Klassen
5. Daughter of a Thousand Pieces of Gold, by Peg Helminski
6. Child of the Mist, by Kathleen Morgan
7. Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer
8. Francesca of Lost Nation, by Lucinda Sue Crosby
9. I Have People, by Taylor Dean
10. Finding June, by Shannen Camp


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