Nancy Pearl is one of my reading heroes so when she recommends a book, I listen! Nancy Pearl’s Book Crush Rediscoveries is her project, alongside Amazon Books, to reprint books for kids and teens, books that were out of print but that in her opinion should not have been out of print! This series for teens is a recent offshoot of her adult series, Nancy Pearl’s Book Lust Rediscoveries, “devoted to reprinting some of the best (and now out of print) novels originally published between 1960-2000.” I love her idea of rediscovering old treasures! I have enjoyed each of her suggestions, and look forward to reading more books from her rediscovery series.
One of the books included in her Rediscoveries series is a book called Greensleeves, by Eloise Jarvis McGraw, an author I love. A few years ago I read her book, The Moorchild, and wrote a review of it here. So when I found another book by her on Nancy Pearl’s list, I knew it would be worth reading and I was not disappointed!
Greensleeves is a story about a young woman searching for her own identity in a confusing world. It is a timeless coming-of-age story, although written in 1968. Shannon Lightley, the daughter of a famous actress and a famous journalist, divorced and both remarried, splits her time between two very different households. She is a “different person” in each household, overwhelmed by the strong personalities of both her parents, and simply doesn’t feel that she “belongs” anywhere. So rather than spend the summer with either parent, she turns to a close family friend, “Uncle Frosty” who has always been very supportive of her. Listening to her woes and confusions, “Uncle Frosty” gave her some wise advice:
“The chief thing is to get busy enough with something else to quit thinking about yourself for a while.”
He offers to help her get an apartment for the summer so that she can do some “undercover” work for his law firm. An elderly woman had just died and left a rather unusual will. In her will, she left all her money to her neighbors instead of to her daughter, who is now contesting the will. Shannon will move into the old woman’s apartment and see if she can find out whether or not the neighbors coerced her into changing her will.
So Shannon moves in, finds a waitressing job in the neighborhood, and assumes another “persona” for her sleuthing. Her summer is spent getting to know all about the old lady and her neighbors… and herself.
A fascinating read, this was a book I couldn’t put down, and I highly recommend it.
“That’s the beauty of a novel like Greensleeves: it might have been written almost half a century ago, but its heroine, and the choices she faces, are totally modern.”