09 January 2011

Sparrow Road; Sheila O'Connor

Sparrow RoadSparrow Road by Sheila O'Connor
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The jacket talks about the mystery of Sparrow Road, but the book is less about that than about Raine's transition from little girl to preteen. Sparrow Road was a mansion, then an orphanage, and is now a Yaddo-like artists residence (with rules like "no talking until dinner" and cabins for artistic creation). Raine isn't happy about being taken away from her Milwaukee home, less happy about the rules, and even less happy about Viktor and his mysterious relationship with Molly, Raine's mother.

Of course, rules are meant to be broken and soon Raine is talking with the artists, exploring the grounds, and finding her own artistic expression (writing). She's also puzzling out what the fate of the orphans was, and how Lillian and possibly Viktor are related to them. And then there's Gray... By the end of the summer, the orphan's story has been told (somewhat), and Raine has learned to make peace with her mother and her newly rediscovered father - it's one of those "growing up" (not quite coming-of-age) books.

My guess is that anticipated audience won't get the significance of the nearby town being named Comfort, but they will understand how a summer in the country, away from one's normal life, can help change people.

ARC provided by publisher.

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