Friday, September 9, 2011

South of Superior review

After receiving a letter from the last person she would expect to hear from, Madeline Stone finds herself moving away from her life in Chicago to care for a family friend in the backwoods of Northern Michigan. Faced with a complete lifestyle change, including the quick dwindling of her bank account, Madeline has to adjust to life in a small, close-knit community, where the residents consider each other family and resources are shared, no matter the cost to an individual. 

While learning the ropes, Madeline is also uncovering family secrets, dealing with the reality of her past, and becoming enchanted in the world of McAllaster...though she doesn't always realize it. 

This was definitely a character-driven novel, allowing the reader to make those deep connections with the people they're reading about. A whole lot of characters are introduced at once, which made for a bit of confusion in the beginning, but once I had everyone sorted out, I was good to go. Each had a distinctive personality and their individuals troubles are both believable and relatable, and I had compassion for each one. 

Growing up in a very small, poor town, I understood the community life and the sense of obligation and willingness to help a neighbor, even if you don't necessarily agree with the choices they're making. I think Airgood did an excellent job at creating a setting that could really be any small town in America and brought to light the concept of money not necessarily buying happiness. 

The length of the book was a bit much for me. It probably could have done with a good 50 pages less, though the details of the setting and the lives of these people were definitely necessary. I just felt it dragged a tad towards the end and if some pages were dropped it would have flowed better. 

If you love digging into characters and really getting to know them, without a whole lot of action or thrills, this would be a good story to try out. Great to read in the fall or winter when you want a nice, cozy story!

South of Superior
Ellen Airgood
384 pages
Adult fiction
June 2011
Library copy

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