Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony
Each year, Violet Baumgartner sits down to write her annual Christmas letter, reflecting fondly on the triumphs of her family, husband “dear Ed”, a noted scientist and researcher, and daughter Cerise, who overachieves on all levels. Violet’s carefully constructed world falls apart when, at her husband’s lavish retirement party, one of the guests announces that Cerise, a lesbian, is pregnant, unbeknownst to Violet. Violet suffers an accident, and during her recovery, her Midwest town of St. Paul, Minnesota, and her family, rally around her while Violet is able to use the time to readjust her lens and see the reality of her world as it really is, not as she is trying to present it to the world. Laugh aloud funny, tender, and vaguely familiar at times, these characters will stay in readers’ hearts long after the last page has been turned.
Marilla of Green Gables by Sarah McCoy
This heartwarming imagining of Marilla Cuthbert’s early years, set on Prince Edward Island during the 19th century, will endear her even more to Anne fans. At thirteen Marilla is determined and anxious to get the most out of life: she meets her mother’s twin sister, an outspoken spinster who has her own business and her mother dies; she meets her best, lifelong friend Rachel, and the young man who wins her heart, John Blythe, known to Anne fans as Gilbert’s father. All of this set against American pre-Civil War politics and social sensibilities, including the Underground Railroad. Anne fans will adore this well-written tale of the woman who takes Anne in, though the novel can stand well on its own as Marilla grows into a young woman with strength of character, and strong convictions, yet a heart big enough to take in a young orphan girl named Anne.
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