Monday, January 03, 2011

Crossing the Tracks

Crossing the tracks by Barbara Stuber

It’s been ten years since Iris Baldwin’s mother passed away. Now her father, who has always been distant, has arranged for fifteen-year-old Iris to spend the summer in the country, working for a doctor by taking care of his elderly mother. Meanwhile, her father and his fiancée will head to Kansas City to open a new shoe store. Iris, upset about her father’s plans and his lack of communication with her, she voices her complaints to her closest – an only – friend, Leroy.

Iris’ notions of the doctor and his mother are far from reality. Instead of a bed ridden invalid and a distant, self-important professional, she finds two people who are warm and inviting.

Over the next few months Iris will be challenged by family, friends, enemies and even herself.

As you know, I’m a bit of a sucker for good historical fiction. This is a lovely example of it. Iris’ world of Midwestern America during the 1920s is richly described.

Iris changes and grows in a realistic manner. It doesn’t happen overnight. She stays true to how she is described early in the story. At the end, you can tell she is maturing emotionally and coming into her own, but also that it is something that will take time. Iris seems real.

Mrs. Nesbitt – the doctor’s elderly mother. She is a wonderful character. I love that she takes the opportunity of Iris’ employment to return to her former self. Vibrantly written, she is one of those fictional people I would love to meet.

The Deets part of the story. While I see how it enhanced the tale a bit, in a way I think the story could have been fine without it. Or without so much of it. How’s that for not giving away any parts of the plot?

This book is written by a debut author, and is on the 2011 Morris shortlist.

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