She's the most popular resident of Sovereign, Maine yet no one in this rural farming community of 1,048 souls has ever known the story behind Miss Hastings' seven decades of dedication to schoolchildren. Now Maggie, the town's minister, sets out on a quest to plumb the mystery of Miss Hastings' past before the retired music teacher -- nearing her 89th birthday and in failing health -- departs this world forever. (from publisher's blurb)
Mayberry, Walnut Grove and ... Sovereign, Maine. Sometimes the setting of a story becomes a character of it's own. The third book ofJennifer Wixson's Sovereign Series welcomes fans back to the friendly village they have come to love.
When I reviewed the first two installments of this series, I praised Jennifer's blend of old and new. This story takes that blend to a new level, alternating between present day and the early 1940's. Since I am not normally a fan of historical fiction, I appreciate an author who weaves historical fact into a fictional story and teaches me something as I read. Ms. Wixson managed to educate me painlessly. I had no idea that sanatoriums for the treatment and isolation of tuberculosis, like the fictional Windmere, actually existed. I was fascinated by the inside look at the life of patients who were confined there, separated from family and friends and, in some cases, with no hope of leaving.
The "thing" - for lack of a better word - that made this story so touching, to me, was watching the characters discover the "real" Miss Hastings. How often do we, like the citizens of Sovereign, think that our surface acquaintance with someone means that we "know" them? I loved watching the story evolve and the depiction of Miss Hastings evolve along with it.
Once again, Jennifer has given us a story about time and place and connections that makes you want to pull up a chair on the front porch and just listen awhile.
Check out all the stops on this virtual tour and come back here next Sunday - July 27th - for an interview with the author and a chance to win the first three books of this wonderful series, as well as some other goodies.