Running away in a circus wagon is not all that is cracked up to be... you never really run away from yourself. All your experiences, emotions, hopes, and dreams travel right along with you.
"Snakes and Stones"
authored by Lisa Fowler
(Hardcover and ebook)
Praise for the book...
"Chestnut's well-realized, realistically, conflicted character... Atmospheric and ultimately heartwarming."
"The fast pace and intriguing secrets in this debut will keep the pages turning." - Booklist
"Readers will instantly be drawn into Fowler's tale by strong, likeable characters who speak in a mountain dialect; the fascinating historical setting; the humour; and the mystery. VERDICT: An engaging offering about the morality of dishonest and the value of truthfulness, with a charming setting."
-School Library Journal
Unwrapping the content...
Let me say right up front... I loved this book from beginning to end. My only regret is that I no longer have a grade 6,7,8 class to read it aloud to. I so wanted to do that so I substituted my three little dogs to read to. I am sure they thought I had completely lost it... but, loving me as they do they obediently laid on their little bed and listened as I read the book out loud to them.
Lisa Fowler's debut book, set in America South 1921, is fantastic. I was drawn into the story from page one and couldn't wait to get back to it until I had completely finished this well-written novel that is full of mystery, family issues, a heroine that is beyond her years wise, smart and overflowing with emotions and heart.
Twelve-year-old Chestnut Hill is seeking the truth about how she figures her daddy stole her and her triplet siblings away from their mama and is now travelling around the country in an old rickety circus wagon selling world famous healing elixir to the crowds he bamboozles. He insists the children take part in his scams so he can create successful sales. Deep down inside Daddy is the truth that he loves his kids so much and is finding a way to fill their tummies and keep their scraggly, struggling, vagabond family together.
After two years on the road Daddy still is moving forward and not backward to Kentucky where mama must be in meltdown mode wondering the fate of her beloved children. But is she really doing that? Chestnut cannot understand why mama is not searching all over to claim once again her beloved children.
Chestnut concocts a plan to help her mother locate them while they are on the move from State to State, hoping with every fibre of her body that her mama pines for them daily and will pick up their trail and come to their rescue.
Unfortunately mama does not appear. Chestnut has to take drastic measures so she is able to return to her mama on her own. The consequences of that ill-fated decision is catastrophic, landing her daddy in jail, her two brothers and little sister (and herself) into temperary foster care. The only good thing is that mama is finally located by the authorities and because of the dire family situation is forced to come to their rescue.
Will mama finally rejoice in the fact that her lost family is once again found? Will she scoop up her children and hold them close to her heart and never let them go? Will Chestnut's family be restored like it used to be?
The story narrative is bittersweet and truth does prevail... but sometimes truth isn't always... and they lived-happily-ever-after truth. This historical fiction is written with the age-appropriate mountain hillbilly voice of Chestnut which adds to the interest and fun of the book.
Additionally, lessons about personal responsibility, honesty, and the value of family makes Snakes & Stones a valuable story for readers both young and old! I adored this book and highly, highly recommend it.
Storywraps rating: 5 traditional hugs ... then to infinity and beyond!
About the author...
Lisa Fowler has lived all her life in the Blue Ridge Mountains of North Carolina, where she fell in love with mountain ways and lingo. She lives in Asheville, North Carolina.
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Read on and read always!
It's a wrap.