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Sunday, May 16, 2010

My review of Chasing Lilacs by Carla Stewart

 Chasing Lilacs: A Novel by Carla Stewart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read this book from cover to cover in one day. Chasing Lilacs is a wonderful coming of age story about a girl learning to cope with so many things in life that she didn't being why her mother would take her own life, and the other wondering if her mother ever really loved her at all. As Sammie explores the issues her mother struggled with, she starts working through emotional challenges of her own. To make matters worse, her mother's sister moves in and tries to take over their home, which Sammie obviously resents. The endearing relationship Sammie had with Slim and with her boyfriend Cly were delightful to read about and were some of my favorite scenes.

I enjoyed the setting and the many things that were classic to that time period, like the kids drinking Ovaltine. The way treatment for depression was described totally fit the time period they were in, too. Because of the details that gave the story an authentic 50s feel, I found myself totally engrossed in Sammie's world. The characters' troubles and heartache seemed real, as did their self-discovery and growth resulting from their pain. The characters were complex, making this novel a delightful read for me. I really felt bad for Sammie's father, and worried that he would make some wrong choices, too. In many ways this story reminded me of Mary DeMuth's Watching the Tree Limbs because it had similar themes and depth to it. Great debut novel!

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Julia M. Reffner said...

Comparing it to Mary DeMuth immediately has added this book to my TBR list! Great review, Michelle!

carla stewart said...

Thank you, Michelle, for the lovely review. I'm honored by the comparison - and humbled. You're a gem!

fredamans said...

Fantastic review! I'm adding this book to my list! Looks like a great summer read!

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