Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall (2011)

I continue to enjoy the Penderwick sisters, especially because of the narrative skills of audio reader Susan Denaker, but this was the weaker of the series so far. Three of the four sisters (plus their friend, Jeffrey Tifton, the Laurie Lawrence of this novel of sisterhood) head to Maine for a seaside vacation, but the promise of ocean adventure never materializes.  I suppose what makes the Penderwicks so charming is their series of insignificant perils, small accidents, and comedies of errors, but with a seaside setting, I was expecting more seaside circumstances.   Birdsall made different writing choices, and I won't fault her for that; the story is still charming, if a bit soap opera-ish towards the end.

The Penderwicks at Point MouetteThe Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Penderwicks under Birdsall's obviously loving pen are still the modern Marches; while never exactly paralleling those famous sisters, Jo and Co. are like the Penderwick sisters Roman lares. But this go round, the magic was just a bit faded. Like wearing a comfortable but worn part of blue jeans, you will enjoy the story, but it won't be as new and exciting as the first time you met them. The seaside setting is almost never used, and while I suppose the joy of the Penderwicks is their penchant for getting into small accidents and insignificant perils, and always experiencing the comedy of errors that is the life that precocious and smart young people of books inhabit, I was expecting more oceanic adventures that never materialized. The soap opera ending wasn't my favorite either. But definitely worth a listen (Susan Denaker as narrator is still ice cream), although not quite as good as the first two outings.

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