Today’s feature is a book I hope to start reading soon: The Excellent Lombards, by Jane Hamilton, the internationally bestselling author of The Book of Ruth and A Map of the World, a heartfelt coming-of-age story that Karen Joy Fowler calls “a timeless classic…a book you will read and reread.”
Intro: (The Story Always Starts Here)
We were making hay. Everyone who was there still remembers it, how the sky was its usual high immense self, and as we went along a wash of clouds moved in, the ceiling suddenly quite low. There was the usual sweet smell of hay drying, the swallows swooping and scolding, and the oil and dust of the baler, a bitter black fragrance. It had been windy and hot when we started but the heat stilled, dirty and wet; or that was us at least, chaff stuck in our mouths, chaff in our bloodshot eyes, chaff like sequins on our clothes, our flesh. My father wore what were originally his dark-blue coveralls, the material over his back bleached by the sun to a pinkish white, the fabric drenched and glued to his skin….
Teaser: A bare lightbulb hung from the ceiling over the staircase, the film of dust on the stairs thick, because May Hill did not use this way for coming and going, of course not, because she’d then have to walk through Dolly’s kitchen. So it was dusty, and up at the top there was not another door, but a wooden gate. (p. 71).
Synopsis: Mary Frances “Frankie” Lombard is fiercely in love with her family’s sprawling apple orchard and the tangled web of family members who inhabit it. Content to spend her days planning capers with her brother William, competing with her brainy cousin Amanda, and expertly tending the orchard with her father, Frankie desires nothing more than for the rhythm of life to continue undisturbed. But she cannot help being haunted by the historical fact that some family members end up staying on the farm and others must leave. Change is inevitable, and threats of urbanization, disinheritance, and college applications shake the foundation of Frankie’s roots. As Frankie is forced to shed her childhood fantasies and face the possibility of losing the idyllic future she had envisioned for her family, she must decide whether loving something means clinging tightly or letting go.
I love this author, and have thoroughly enjoyed her previous books. What do you think? Would you keep reading?