This is an absorbing story of 2 sisters, Bertha and Florence (or Flossie) growing up in 1952 small town America. Bertha, the 16 year old, is level headed but from an early age has a dream of one day playing professional baseball in the all girls American league that has been operating for almost a decade. She’s very good and matches it with the boys she plays with.
Flossie is a precocious 11 year old. At times, she acts a little younger than her age, but she is blunt and in your face in such a charming way that she’s hard not to fall in love. Flossie has a lovely relationship with her dad, William Harding. Dad happens to be a very well known author with a number of bestselling books under his name. He spends most of his time writing in the shack in the backyard, inspired each day by a bust of Shakespeare watching over him. Dad is very restrained, mild-mannered and devoted to his daughters and their mother, Mam.
The Harding family’s stable life is uprooted as a vengeful neighbour publicly accuses William of being a Communist. This makes the news and the family are effectively run out of their Bonaventure Park home. Fortunately, for them William’s brother, Matthew lives alone in a big house about an hour’s drive away and is happy to accommodate them.
Finkbeiner has a wonderful way of writing an engrossing story when not a lot happens. It’s very much character-driven and the manner in which the various characters interact with each other keeps you turning pages. These are tremendously drawn characters, all very realistic in their portrayals.
I enjoyed the baseball scenes, not just the games, but pre-and post-game interactions between the various players. Once again, very realistic and absorbing.
But it’s Flossie who will linger long in the memory. She’s such a character, playful, loves hard and has a fun sense of humour. Her willingness to learn, to sit with her Dad and listen to his restrained wisdom and insight is beautiful to behold. I especially enjoyed how Flossie closed the story with a snippet of her in the future.
I was fortunate to receive an early ebook copy of the story from Revell via NetGalley. This had no bearing on my review.