Monday, February 9, 2009

Tennyson by Lesley M.M. Blume

Tennyson and her younger sister, Hattie, face a traumatic change in their idyllic world. Their mother, Sadie, has abandoned them and their father. While he goes to look for her, the girls are left in the care of their Aunt Henrietta. Set in swampy, humid Louisiana during the Great Depression, Tennyson, is a sweet story about an 11-year old girl trying to make sense of the place and people that surround her. Tennyson and Hattie move from their little shack called "Innisfree", to their aunt's run down, dilapidated southern mansion to wait for their father while he desperately searches for their run away mother. Aunt Henrietta stills sees "Aigredoux", the mansion, in it's old grandeur of the past and refers to the falling plaster, large holes in the floor, and overgrown vines as "under construction". Neither she, nor her black servant, Zulma, have any warmth to share with the girls. In fact, there are no likable female characters, except for Tennyson and Hattie. The most interesting parts of the book are when Tennyson dreams and finds herself back in time, among her ancestors, during the Civil War. Other characters include an uncle who sits in the background, correcting every one's grammar; a friendly, kind, old black postmaster; and a very interesting man named Bartholomew Prentiss. The latter is involved in the plan that Tennyson contrives to bring her mother back. You'll have to read the book to find out just what that plan is . . . and how it turns out. A worthwhile read, 207 pages, found in Juvenile Fiction.

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