Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Chidren's Crusade

Taut. Hundreds of novels will be published this year that feature the complicated lives of families. None is likely to be as finely written as Ann Packer’s The Children’s Crusade. Packer presents the Blair family from the 1950s to the present. The father of the family, Bill Blair, is a pediatrician. His wife, Penny, is an artist. Their four children are named Robert, Rebecca, Ryan and James. By the selection of name, you can guess how well James fits in with the others. As in many families, the story revolves around the mother, and Penny is not the storybook Mom of the 1950s. She chooses her art over giving her children what they need. What Packer does so well is create this interesting and complex character in Penny, and fleshes out the impact of Penny’s choices on each member of the family over six decades. Packer’s prose can delight close readers, no matter what the content. The prose here describes the place and time so perfectly that the development of characters in their multiple settings seems to flow with great ease. Packer’s insight into these characters made me love reading this novel. Each unique character, formed by life experience, behaves in ways that are understandable and totally recognizable. Fans who revel in finely written literary fiction are those most likely to enjoy reading this novel. Rating: Five-star (I love it) Click here to purchase The Children’s Crusade from amazon.com.

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