I had sort of heard of this author before, but when this book came out, a couple of bloggers talked about it. Since I couldn't, at the time, seem to find any of her other books easily, I decided that I would read this one and then take it from there. I hadn't gotten around to purchasing it yet, but my friend beat me to it and bought it for me for my birthday. Yay!
Mapson takes a break from her Bad Girl Creek series with this touching novel that chronicles the lives of four generations of women living under one roof. When sociology professor Mariah Moon loses her job, she and her Carl Sagan–loving genius 12-year-old daughter, Lindsay, move into the apartment shared by Mariah's hippie mom, Allegra, and staunchly Catholic grandmother, Bess. All four pitch in to run the family restaurant downstairs, where Mariah locks eyes with the charming Fergus Applecross, who's set to leave their California town of Pacific Grove and return to Scotland in a few months. Mariah takes a chance on him, to Allegra's delight and Lindsay's consternation. Allegra, meanwhile, is diagnosed with leukemia, but rediscovers the long-lost love of her life at the doctor's office. Lindsay, watching her grandmother struggle with both her illness and trying to cover the cost of medication, concocts a science project that involves growing marijuana (for medicinal applications, of course). Initially, the characters are pulled straight from central casting, but after a slow start, they become as complex and fascinating as the situations they find themselves in.
This is not stellar literature, I must point out. It was very much an easy read, but for that, it was still an enjoyable read. I like her writing style enough to eventually read something else by her. I am a fantasy and historical fiction fan. I read lots of Canadian authors. Genres like this are hit and miss with me. While this novel was one of those gushy coming of age type novels, it was still good. So, that's always impressive.
I liked the characters in the novel. I think, more than anything, they were the reason that I enjoyed this book. They were so eccentric and funny that you couldn't help but enjoy them! First up there is Gammy Bess, she is the religious member of the family. She tries to keep her family in line and is forever quoting the Bible or praying for some member or another of her family. She is quite an interesting character and really adds to the story. Next up is Allegra, she is the daughter of Gammy and is stuck in another generation where she thinks she is still a hippie. She is eccentric and funny, but also the hardest hit in the novel. She is the character that gets diagnosed with cancer, and has to learn to live with little energy and no interest in eating.
Then, there is Mariah. She was rised by these interesting women, Allegra being her mother, but she has spent the last few years of her life trying to run away from the life that this family represents. Then, she loses her teaching position and the old family restaurant is the only place that she has to return to. In doing so, she brings her own daughter, Lindsay. Lindsay is incredibly smart, but at the same time, lost. She has stomach aches throughout the novel, but does not consider them as important as cancer, so she tells no one. She has grown up alone, and her mother does everything she can to protect her. This is the period in time, though, where Lindsay learns how to shine.
An enjoyable read!