Monday, March 24, 2014

Book Review: Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank

It’s about keeping the faith.

Growing up poor in 1953 in the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia doesn’t bother Lydia Hawkins. She treasures her tight-knit family. There’s her loving mama, now widowed; her whip-smart younger brother, BJ, who has cystic fibrosis; and wise old Gran. But everything falls apart after Gran and BJ die and mama is jailed unjustly. Suddenly Lydia has lost all those dearest to her.

Moving to a coal camp to live with her uncle William and aunt Ethel Mae only makes Lydia feel more alone. She is ridiculed at her new school for her outgrown homemade clothes and the way she talks, and for what the kids believe her mama did. And to make matters worse, she discovers that her uncle has been keeping a family secret—about her.

If only Lydia, with her resilient spirit and determination, could find a way to clear her mother’s name...

Child of the Mountains by Marilyn Sue Shank is a wonderful book narrated by a young girl from the Appalachian Mountains of West Virginia.  It's written in her southern dialect, but that only adds to the richness of the story. Set in the '50s, the hard mountain life is shown.  Lydia's immediate family is taken away from her through death and jail.  She goes to live with her aunt and uncle who pay little attention to her, and supply her with barely what she needs.

Lydia tells her story, remembering the past and updating the present.  Through all the sorrowful things that happen, we see her steely resolution to survive and save her mother.  I wish the mother's personality had been fleshed out more.  Gran and Lydia's brother BJ were good strong characters, easy to connect with.

This is a beautiful southern story by a debut author.  I can't wait to see what she writes next!

 I give this book 4 Bookworms.

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