Monday, November 8, 2010
Crossing the Tracks by Barbara Stuber
Iris Baldwin's mother died when Iris was a young girl, but she's always felt like an orphan. Her father is a well-to do owner of a shoe store, and he's never had much time for Iris. So, it's not completely surprising that, with a soon-to-be wife and a new shoe store in the works, he sends Iris off to work as a live-in companion for a doctor's elderly mother. And so, just as Anne Shirley headed off on a train, to stay with Matthew and Marilla Curthbert, unsure if they really want her, so does Iris head off to stay with Doctor and Mrs. Nesbitt. In her summer away from home, things change in ways Iris could have never predicted, but maybe for the better.
Critics might say that Crossing the Tracks doesn't have a very strong plot driving the story, but that's really not what the book is about. It's a thoughtful work of historical fiction set in the 1920s. When I think 1920s, I think flappers and prohibition, but that's the urban 1920s, not at all what rural Missouri was like then. Instead, the setting in some ways reminded me of Prince Edward Island, the community remote and insular, the characters either full of small-town charm or rural grit. This is the perfect book to read on a rainy day like today.
RIYL (Read If You Like): Anne of Green Gables, or Jennifer Donnelly's A Northern Light (which I'm so enjoying on audiobook right now).