The Blessings by Elise Juska & A Year Of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman
Now that the family is gone – kids back to school - you have time on your own to read on the dock these last days of summer
The Blessings by Elise Juska
This lovely little book takes place in Philadelphia in our own time. We enter into the world of the Blessing family – siblings Patrick, Ann, Margie and John. They are the parents of several children- each with their own story.
Each of us will bring our own experience with our own family to our reading of this book – as we read we will recognize ourselves and our own families in this story.
This is a family that gathers to celebrate birthdays and graduations – they phone each other – they are close. They have expectations but are also forgiving – they always support each other. It sounds ideal – but there are secrets – marriages that are not so happy. Children who are not so successful at finding their place in the world. There is the sad death of a young husband and father. There is the eating disorder of a struggling daughter. There is a husband who gambles.
Lives, perhaps not too unlike our own. Seemed a simple little book at the beginning – ended up being a treasure.
A Year Of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman
One of my favourite books a couple of summers ago was Sarah Winman’s novel When God Was a Rabbit. She is back with a new book set in the past, just after the Second World War, in England. We meet a woman, Marvellous Ways, now in her ninetieth year – and we share her memories of war, the First and the Second. We also meet a young man who has lost his way on his return from the war. When their lives connect their stories move forward together, as each re-visits the past.
A Year of Marvellous Ways is a book about loss, the fear of forgetting and an affirmation of what it is about life that makes it worth carrying on. It is a story that will stay with you long after you have finished reading the book.