Sunday, April 29, 2012

Review of "no-name baby" and a giveaway

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Writer’s thought for the day and something to think about as you read the review:

"When people ask me if these stories are true, 
I prefer to say that they are true enough." 
 ~ David Sedaris

My gift for my writer friends, a list of eight helpful hints for writers, can be found here:

Now back to the business of blogging. I was contacted recently by a friend who is part of a group of recently-published writers interested in having reviews of their works out there in the blogosphere. Would I be interested in doing some book reviews? Well, heck, yeah. I’m always interested in reading and reviewing books. When I found out many of these writers have been working with editor extraordinaire Steven Roxburgh, I was doubly on board. “Sign me up,” said I. And then the first book arrived. Nancy Bo Flood sent me her slender volume entitled no-name baby and I began reading.
In rural Illinois, shortly after World War I, Sophie, fourteen, is an only child, but there are three grey gravestones in the family plot for babies lost – a sister and two brothers she had never known. Her mother is pregnant again, and Aunt Rae has come to the farm from Chicago to help when the baby comes. Sophie’s her grandmother, Nonna, lives there too, but at her age, she can only do so much. Her father, of course, has to run the farm. But he has help – a handsome young man, Karl, who goes to school with Sophie. When Aunt Rae is in the house, there is always a strange tension.

As Sophie and her mother are doing chores one day, Sophie wriggles out of slopping the pigs, a chore she hates. Finally, her mother agrees to do it while Sophie gathers eggs. Sophie sees her mother struggle with the slop pail, then slip and fall. She’s hurt and the baby is coming early.

It takes several days of worry before Sophie is able to breathe easier, finally knowing her new little brother and her mother will be all right. Since she has to stay home to help for awhile, Karl brings her school work to her, meeting her in the orchard in early evenings. Their budding romance is apparent to all. Aunt Rae doesn’t like it and, in a strangely contentious moment, says something that makes Sophie question everything about herself and her life, a mystery she is determined to solve.

“A strange weariness filled Sophie. She sat down on Papa’s three-legged stool, tucked her knees under her chin, circled her arms around her legs. And then, not knowing why, she cried and cried.”

Nancy Bo Flood
This bucolic story, framed by the ravages of World War I and conflicts that can only be found in a family, has lovely texture, compelling characters, and polished writing. Girls from upper middle grades on up through YA will find a gem between the covers of no-namebaby. Nancy Bo Flood was kind enough to sign the copy she sent for review, so one of you can win a very gently read autographed copy. Just leave a comment here on the blog for once chance and post the link to to this blog post on your blog, Facebook, or other social media and let me know for a second chance. As always, one of my incredibly honest grandchildren will pull the winning name from a hat.

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