Saturday, 24 March 2018

Moon Over Manifest - Clare Vanderpool

What a wonderful read this was, and it's certainly going to be in my top ten favourites of 2018.  Winner of the Newbery Medal (US) and published in 2010. I just came across this somewhere on the internet and ordered it.  Apparently aimed at good readers 9-12ish, I would dismiss that altogether and implore anyone of any age who loves a good story to beg, steal or borrow this, because it's so worth it.

It's a dual time novel,  1918 and 1936.  It includes some world history (Spanish flu epidemic, WW1) and a great deal of small town stuff, and therein lies it's certain charm.  The heroine of the tale is Abeline, who having been brought up by her itinerant father, suddenly finds herself in 1936, alone on a train, aged 12, and headed for the town of Manifest, where her father is sending her for the summer whilst he takes a railroad job.  She's taken under the wing of a preacher called Shady Howard (and let me tell you his past is more shady than his current life!); she makes friends, and she gets to know a woman who tells her about Manifest and what happened back there in 1918.   She and her friends are investigating an old mystery, not least because of the cigar box of bits and pieces she finds under a loose floor board in her bedroom.

When I had finished, suddenly, Anne of Green Gables came into my head.  Not that the books are similar in any way except that they are both about girls who have to make their way in a strange world;  but I guess if you love Anne, you will take to Abeline too.  Highly recommended.

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