The Excellent Lombards by Jane Hamilton

Popular Wisconsin author Jane Hamilton has written another book--The Excellent Lombards--a humorous story about family relations and growing up and featuring an endearing main character and a bittersweet ending. Set in the 1990s, main character Mary Frances Lombard (also known as Frankie or Francie) lives with her parents Jim and Nellie and her brother William in southeastern Wisconsin on their farmland. Jim and his cousin Sherwood run the apple orchard and farm with the help of their eccentric and formidable Aunt May Hill and their hired hand Gloria. Nellie is the director of the library in the village nearby. Francie loves the orchard and all of the surrounding land. She wants to stay there forever and is resistant to growing up. But time goes on, and change is inevitable. Francie narrates incidents from her life when she was between 8 and 16 years old: her competiveness with her cousin Amanda, the geography bee that she deliberately loses, her beloved teacher Mrs. Kraselnik, snooping in Aunt May Hill’s bedroom and getting locked in, and the disagreements between her sharp-tongued mother and worn-out father about the future of the orchard. This book is a great choice for anyone who likes to read books with a Wisconsin connection or anyone who likes coming-of-age stories. So, go get yourself an apple and settle in for a delightful read.

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