Well, this is the last YotC entry. Thanks to KMont for hosting this challenge during the year. I hope that some folks have realized that categories can be great reading.
Little Lili had grown up! Fourteen years ago, she was like a cute kid sister. Now she had the potential to be so much more. But a shocking secret was about to split Tony's world apart. The question was, could he count on Lili to pick up the pieces?
I love Karen Templeton’s books. Her characters come off as real people, with real people problems. I loved the story in this one, but there were some things that bothered me. I always like to start positive, so…
I really liked Tony. Trying to survive after a spouse’s death is everyone’s biggest fear. And raising 3 young girls alone? Yikes! I liked that he was all about being devoted to his kids. He came across as a real parent. With a real preteen. Surly, uncommunicative, and add trying to come to terms with her mom’s death to it, and Claire is not a happy little girl to live with. I did like that she tried to be honest with herself when it truly counted. It showed a level of maturity that I think an oldest sibling would likely have in her circumstances.
Daph was adorable, as was Josie. I thought she had a rather large vocabulary for 18 months, but hey, it’s fiction. I could sympathize with Tony’s fear of losing his youngest daughter, while at the same time trying to come to grips with his late wife’s betrayal. All the emotions portrayed were realistic, believable, and very well written.
The story itself was great. I liked Lili a lot. She’d had a rather rough upbringing, but never seemed to resent it. She always looked on the bright side, but was no Pollyanna. She and Tony were good together. I liked that they didn’t jump into bed, regardless of the attraction that they both acknowledged.
There are two main things that I didn’t care for. One, there was an awful lot of internalizing. All the characters’ thoughts were spelled out. In great detail. A lot. I’d rather have some internalizing and more dialogue and interaction than the other way around.
Also, the accents. Drove me batshit crazy. I think that the “g” on Templeton’s keyboard must have been broken. Tony never said a word that ended in “ing” with the “g”. Goin’, thinkin’, doin’… well you get the picture. And Aunt Magda had a stereotypical Slavic accent. Spelled out in detail every time she opened her mouth. But Lili, also from Hungary, didn’t have her speech spelled out in the same way. It was noted that her accent got heavier at times, but the actual dialect was not written. I’d much prefer that, and although the accent did serve to make Magda larger than life because you could hear everything she said in that accent, still… it detracted from the reading experience.
Karen Templeton is a go-to author for me. There were just a couple things that bothered me enough to make this not my favorite. But Templeton fans will likely not mind enough to stop reading.