You know that feeling when you have finished a really good book and you’re at sixes and sevens? Your mind is still enveloped in the times and characters of the book you just finished and you’re not ready to start another one?
I read Donna Mabry’s book Maude, an oral history written down into a narrative that’s gripping and absorbing. Mabry draws you wholly into the time frame and into her grandmother’s life, 1894-1978 or so. The time frame itself has enough drama to sustain even the most boring of characters, which Maude is definitely not. There’s WWI, the Influenza epidemic, the coming of automobiles and factories, women got the vote, Depression, technology, westward migration…and her grandmother experienced all of it. Some have said in their reviews that the book is sad, and it is, the times were sad. Maude’s life did seem especially fraught with tragedy, yet her pioneer spirit soared above it all.
Some have said the book reminded them of the Little House on the Prairie books, but for me, it reminded me of Willa Cather’s O Pioneers! But where Cather’s Alexandra seemed remote and unreachable, Maude is vibrant and relatable. The book also reminded me, with its near-past permeatingly vivid atmosphere, Fried Green Tomatoes. You know that feeling when you’re in a book and you feel like you’re there? Maude does that. You don’t even feel like you’re reading, but living it.
The author said it took her ten years to write it, adding the stories from her grandmother as she told them, and filling in with other facts and history. The book was the Kindle version, and a free one at that. Sometimes the free books on Kindle mean that the quality isn’t very high, but this one beat the odds, it’s a stellar book. It spent weeks on the NY Times best seller lists and has high ratings on Amazon as well. Recommended!
I have being delivered today a hard copy of Five Days in Skye: A Novel (The MacDonald Family Trilogy), and on Kindle I already have The Little Princesses: The Story of the Queen’s Childhood by her Nanny, Marion Crawford, which I’ll start next. When I’m ready to let Maude go, that is.