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The Cape Ann (Contemporary American Fiction)

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Lark Erhardt, the six-year-old narrator of The Cape Ann, and her fiercely independent mother dream of owning their own house; they have their hearts set on the Cape Ann, chosen from a house catalog. But when Lark's father's gambling threatens the down payment her mother has worked so hard to save, Lark's mother takes matters into her own indomitable hands. A disarmingly Lark Erhardt, the six-year-old narrator of The Cape Ann, and her fiercely independent mother dream of owning their own house; they have their hearts set on the Cape Ann, chosen from a house catalog. But when Lark's father's gambling threatens the down payment her mother has worked so hard to save, Lark's mother takes matters into her own indomitable hands. A disarmingly involving portrait of a family struggling to stay together through the Great Depression, The Cape Ann is an unforgettable story of life from a child's-eye view.


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Lark Erhardt, the six-year-old narrator of The Cape Ann, and her fiercely independent mother dream of owning their own house; they have their hearts set on the Cape Ann, chosen from a house catalog. But when Lark's father's gambling threatens the down payment her mother has worked so hard to save, Lark's mother takes matters into her own indomitable hands. A disarmingly Lark Erhardt, the six-year-old narrator of The Cape Ann, and her fiercely independent mother dream of owning their own house; they have their hearts set on the Cape Ann, chosen from a house catalog. But when Lark's father's gambling threatens the down payment her mother has worked so hard to save, Lark's mother takes matters into her own indomitable hands. A disarmingly involving portrait of a family struggling to stay together through the Great Depression, The Cape Ann is an unforgettable story of life from a child's-eye view.

30 review for The Cape Ann (Contemporary American Fiction)

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane Barnes

    I read this about 20 years ago on a recommendation from a friend. I loved it then, and decided to read it again after reading "Goodnight, Mr. Wodehouse", by the same author, and realizing that many of the characters from The Cape Ann were in that book as well. This novel is written from the perspective of a 6 yr. old girl. She is not funny or precocious, just a normal child who sees the world, her parents, and their marriage through the eyes of innocence and wonder. She takes everything she hears I read this about 20 years ago on a recommendation from a friend. I loved it then, and decided to read it again after reading "Goodnight, Mr. Wodehouse", by the same author, and realizing that many of the characters from The Cape Ann were in that book as well. This novel is written from the perspective of a 6 yr. old girl. She is not funny or precocious, just a normal child who sees the world, her parents, and their marriage through the eyes of innocence and wonder. She takes everything she hears very literally, which causes lots of questions and stress. Who catches the babies when the stork flies them in? Why does God demand both love and fear? How will she ever survive her first communion and confession? She keeps a list of sins, and already has 336 to tell the priest about. The time period is during the depression, in the Minnesota town of Harvester. By turns, funny, sad, and sometimes scary, this is a great story of people trying to make their lives better. Lark's mother, Arlene, gets my vote for literary mother of the year.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Suzy

    4 1/2 stars Step into 6-year-old Lark Erhardt's world for a while and meet her parents, Arlene and Willie, her friends, her extended family and the townspeople of Harvester, Minnesota at the end of the depression in the late 1930's. Sullivan paints a such a vivid picture of small town Midwest America told through Lark's eyes that you feel you know these people, their day-to-day lives, their strengths and foibles and their concerns, large and small, and that you are somehow a part of their 4 1/2 stars Step into 6-year-old Lark Erhardt's world for a while and meet her parents, Arlene and Willie, her friends, her extended family and the townspeople of Harvester, Minnesota at the end of the depression in the late 1930's. Sullivan paints a such a vivid picture of small town Midwest America told through Lark's eyes that you feel you know these people, their day-to-day lives, their strengths and foibles and their concerns, large and small, and that you are somehow a part of their community. I love Sullivan's writing! She creates a few story lines that she carries through the book to propel you along with Lark's story. She pretty much nails the mind of a 6-8 year-old. Lark is studying catechism for her first confession and first communion. She is instructed to keep a list of sins to confess and she has a book with literally hundreds of sins listed as she constantly dithers about what is a sin. Her certainty that storks bring babies is both funny and tragic. She finds an unmailed letter from a "hobo", Earl Samson, and his story takes on a life of its own in Lark's mind. Sullivan also knows small town life where everybody seems to know everyone's business and everybody's greatest fear is that people will find out about their business! I grew up in a rural area in the 1950's and except that the depression and WWII loomed in the background of this story, she could have been writing about my town. The people and story lines Sullivan tells about are touching, funny, poignant, dispiriting and ultimately optimistic. When Lark is distraught about an upcoming change in her life, her friend Mrs. Stillman tells her: "We have to be ready for the adventures life throws down in our path. Everything difficult or painful that we can do with a merry heart gives us . . . " She searched for the word. Squaring her shoulders a little, she pronounced, "style". When the chips are down and things seem bleak (as they do many times in this story), Lark would hear her Mom say "I'll think of something" . . . and she always does. Words to live by! I was so sad to see this book end that I dragged my feet through the last 15 pages. The good news is there's more! I learned about this book because of Sullivan's Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse: A Novel, a notable book of 2015. It tells the story of Mrs. Stillman and her son Hilly, both characters in this book. I'm eager to read it!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Charlene Intriago

    A six year old is our storyteller here - and Lark Erhardt sometimes sounds a little older than her years. That might have been my only issue with this book, but Lark is an only child, used to interacting with lots of adults, and some of that adult way of speaking and thinking has rubbed off on her! I loved the setting - the little town of Harvester, Minnesota - small and quaint with everyone knowing everyone else - this can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. There's lots of family A six year old is our storyteller here - and Lark Erhardt sometimes sounds a little older than her years. That might have been my only issue with this book, but Lark is an only child, used to interacting with lots of adults, and some of that adult way of speaking and thinking has rubbed off on her! I loved the setting - the little town of Harvester, Minnesota - small and quaint with everyone knowing everyone else - this can be good or bad depending on how you look at it. There's lots of family issues in this book - but what family doesn't have issues - especially in dealing with the Depression. Definitely hard times. There's a little religion in here too since Lark has started some religion classes. And the reader is definitely going to have some strong feelings about Lark's parents. I wasn't too sure what to make of her dad. Great discussion book for my book group.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Pickering

    I tend to enjoy coming of age novels so it wasn't a surprise that I enjoyed this one. Although I thought the author made the main character's voice more mature than a 5-6 year old, I really enjoyed the picture she painted of life in the late 1930s. Sadly, I wonder if it wasn't similar to the childhood my mom may have had (family strife). Good story telling. I am looking forward to the sequel "Gardenias".

  5. 4 out of 5

    Carol

    Faith Sullivan's The Cape Ann" is a rich tapestry of characters, plot, and genuine emotion. The novel is written from the perspective of little Lark Erhardt, and Sullivan writes believably in this character throughout the novel. Your heart will ache for the members of the sleepy Minnesota town. In particular, you will feel for Hilly, war hero whose shell shock leaves him mentally damaged but whose heart remains intact, as he struggles to please all around him. "The Cape Ann" invokes intense Faith Sullivan's The Cape Ann" is a rich tapestry of characters, plot, and genuine emotion. The novel is written from the perspective of little Lark Erhardt, and Sullivan writes believably in this character throughout the novel. Your heart will ache for the members of the sleepy Minnesota town. In particular, you will feel for Hilly, war hero whose shell shock leaves him mentally damaged but whose heart remains intact, as he struggles to please all around him. "The Cape Ann" invokes intense emotion without being sentimental or sappy. It is a true and honest portrayal of life at the start of World War II through the astute eyes of a six year old girl and her strong mother who are wishing for a house in the style of a Cape Ann, while spending life living in a train station with a father who keeps gambling away their money. A very good story.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Patty

    I struggled a bit with the 6 year old narrator as she sounded to mature for her age. I was heartened by her mothers courage and always doing the right thing. Saddened by her fathers rough treatment of 6 year old Lark. Beating her for biting her fingernails??? Because the didn't look pretty like a lady's fingernails should???!!! I just could never reconcile myself to Willies behavior. It annoyed me to experience his ignorance through the eyes of his daughter. The ending had a good vibe.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Suanne Laqueur

    I can't quite say why, but this is possibly one of the most wonderful books I've ever read. I loved every chapter, every paragraph and every word. Fantastic, unforgettable characters in Lark and her mother. The six-year-old point of view was delightful. HIGHLY recommend and I'll be reading more by this author.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    3.5 Really enjoyable story but frankly too much religion for me. I kept wondering if we were supposed to believe 6-year-old Lark was the narrator or if we could assume an adult Lark was remembering. Certainly a very precocious child, if the former. I find it hard to believe a 6-year-old in small town Minnesota knew what a professor was, enough to say she wants to be one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Bibi

    I rushed to read this book after reading Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse which is also by the same author. Both of these books are set in the fictional town of Harvester in Minnesota. Many of the same characters can be found in both books. The Cape Ann was copyrighted in 1988 and covers a period of approximately 2 years while Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse, published in 2015 moved the story along to 1961 and covers several decades. Each book can be read independently; Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse focused on Nell I rushed to read this book after reading Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse which is also by the same author. Both of these books are set in the fictional town of Harvester in Minnesota. Many of the same characters can be found in both books. The Cape Ann was copyrighted in 1988 and covers a period of approximately 2 years while Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse, published in 2015 moved the story along to 1961 and covers several decades. Each book can be read independently; Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse focused on Nell Stillman and her son Hillyard while The Cape Ann focused on Arlene Erhardt and her daughter, Lark. I love both books. Sullivan's writing is fantastic. I highly recommend these books; great for book clubs too. In The Cape Ann, Arlene lives at the train depot with her daughter and husband. This was supposed to be a temporary measure while they save for a house. "In the meantime, she made the depot house as comfortable and attractive as her considerable ingenuity could manage." Since her husband works for the railway, Arlene was able to negotiate a rent-free arrangement. Her goal and that of her little girl was to own #127, a cape ann with three bedrooms and two baths. If there is enough money, they may have dormer windows and door, a bay window in the living room, and a window seat in Lark's bedroom. Their dreams seem to be constantly dashed even when Arlene took matters into her own hands. I tip my hat to the fictional Arlene - she is the sort of get-up-and-go person; not one to feel sorry for herself but one who "will think of something" and work boldly towards her goal. Very capable, reliable, forward-thinking, and determined, Arlene taught herself to type; she opened a small business and managed a well kept home. She baked, cooked, scrubbed, and cleaned, and she sewed lovely outfits for herself and her daughter whose favourite was the green and white seersucker jumpsuit with carrot appliqués on the bodice and the pockets. She made a robe for Hillyard and first communion dresses for Lark and her two friends - Beverley and Sally. Arlene baked pies and cakes for church events, Memorial Day picnics, and is definitely an organizer and take-charge character. I found myself rooting very hard for Arlene and young Lark, I cheer her on and want everything to go right for her. This book is written from the perspective of the six-year old Lark. By the end of the book, she was barely eight. I found her thoughts and insights to be very grown-up and a little befuddling for such a young creature but lovable she is. I must stop before I give too much away. This book centred around family, friendships, community-spirit, dreams & hopes, gambling & alcohol, Catholicism, and a different time in history. Funny and endearing at times. I enjoyed every minute of reading this book and I savoured every word. Here is my favourite quote: "We have to be ready for the adventures life throws down in our path. Everything difficult or painful that we can do with a merry heart, gives us ........" She searched for the word. Squaring her shoulders, she pronounced, "style." An uncharacteristic word, I thought......."And character. Yes, style and character. Mr. Roosevelt has style and character, don't you know. And, Mrs. Roosevelt, too."

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    Because I recently read Faith Sullivan’s “Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse,” I followed with this novel because Nell Stillman, the protagonist, is closely connected to the principal characters in “The Cape Ann.” Nell, now retired from teaching third grade, whose long, challenging years have been sustained by her reading life, continues to care for her almost 40 year old son, Hilly, the young soldier who returned to Harvester, Minnesota, suffering from shell shock after WWI. Lark Erhardt is the six-year Because I recently read Faith Sullivan’s “Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse,” I followed with this novel because Nell Stillman, the protagonist, is closely connected to the principal characters in “The Cape Ann.” Nell, now retired from teaching third grade, whose long, challenging years have been sustained by her reading life, continues to care for her almost 40 year old son, Hilly, the young soldier who returned to Harvester, Minnesota, suffering from shell shock after WWI. Lark Erhardt is the six-year old narrator of this novel that begins in 1939. Her observations about life, sometimes cobbled with her eavesdropping, are earnest, sometimes funny, and often heartbreaking as she tries to navigate the mysteries of her family and small town still struggling with the Great Depression. Although readers might question the maturity of Lark’s insights given her young age, Sullivan balances this with Lark’s typical child-like responses to events in the novel. The men in this novel, perhaps as in the last one, are flawed, adding to the hardships in the family. Lark’s father, Willy, is a compulsive gambler, gambling away his wife’s and daughter’s dreams of building “The Cape Ann,” #127 from the house catalog. A man of little imagination, threatened by his bright, independent, resourceful wife, Arlene, Willy holds narrow views about just about everything: politics, religion, the roles of men and women, family life, townspeople. Stanley, his brother-in-law, flaunts his adultery to his pregnant wife, Betty, and seems paralyzed by his reduced employment. The novel is filled with the small moments of Lark’s life, her commitment to studying the Baltimore Catechism in preparation for her first confession and communion, her friendships with children and adults, her comfort sleeping in a crib surrounded by her favorite books. The dysfunction of the family permeates the novel, however, filled with anger, contempt, and great sadness. While I cheered for Arlene to follow her dreams, saving her sister and Lark as well, that comes at a cost. "Sometimes I let people think the worst of me because I can't explain the truth." Few things give me more pleasure than finding a new author whose writing moves me; Faith Sullivan writes about familiar characters and situations. She writes with a certain purity and integrity, a fresh look at the courageous and visionary, the vulnerable and discouraged, the prejudiced who are limited by their fears, and those, like Lark and her mother, who are saved by their daring. “The Cape Ann” was a good choice to close out the old year and welcome 2016.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Candice

    I was inspired to read this after reading Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse. Set in the same fictional town of Harvester, MN, this earlier book visits some of the same characters. Narrated by Lark Ehrhart who is 6 when the book begins and 8 when it ends, it gives a child's perspective on growing up in a small town in the late 1930s to early 1940s. Lark is a charming narrator whose youthful perspective on life is at times heartbreaking and at times amusing. My heart ached for her and her mother Arlene as I was inspired to read this after reading Good Night, Mr. Wodehouse. Set in the same fictional town of Harvester, MN, this earlier book visits some of the same characters. Narrated by Lark Ehrhart who is 6 when the book begins and 8 when it ends, it gives a child's perspective on growing up in a small town in the late 1930s to early 1940s. Lark is a charming narrator whose youthful perspective on life is at times heartbreaking and at times amusing. My heart ached for her and her mother Arlene as they continually chased their dream of owning their own home, a Cape Ann. Through setback after setback, I could see Arlene's strength and resolve as she gained my admiration. Another gem by Faith Sullivan.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

    I very much enjoyed this book. It really was not the warm feel good book I expected. Set at the end of the Depression in small town Minnesota, it is the story of 6 year old Lark Erhardt. Lark lives with her mismatched parents in a makeshift apartment attached to the train depot where her father works. Major events in Larks life and the lives of the townspeople and other relatives are filtered through Lark's keen but naive eye. I can't wait to read the sequel.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Barnes

    I've read about 100 pages and the story is going nowhere fast. I hope it picks up. Ok the book did pick up a little about half way through and did have some really funny parts. But there was no real plot to the story, I didn't think. I probably wouldn't have finished had it not been a book club book. I think "mama" could have benefited from reading Love and Respect.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    The style was lovely. The characters were interesting along with the setting. But the religious aspects were naive and heavy handed. Using the little girl to express the religious beliefs felt like propaganda. It left a bad taste. Perhaps if the summaries had shared that this was a religious book, I would not have felt duped.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Bayneeta

    Lots of wonderful details about life in a small Minnesota town during the depression and early years of the war. I found it surprisingly easy to accept vocabulary and insights well beyond the years of a six to eight-year-old child, but I was aware of them.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Gretchen

    When I am building my reading queue, I always consider a Faith Sullivan novel a “fun read.” Really, I’m not sure why; all the stories address characters in situations that involve deep, real struggles. But the characters never fail to face the struggles and figure things out. That, in a book, is very reassuring. The Cape Ann fits the Sullivan mold that I have encountered so far. More than any other installment of the Harvester novels I have read so far (Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse and The Empress of When I am building my reading queue, I always consider a Faith Sullivan novel a “fun read.” Really, I’m not sure why; all the stories address characters in situations that involve deep, real struggles. But the characters never fail to face the struggles and figure things out. That, in a book, is very reassuring. The Cape Ann fits the Sullivan mold that I have encountered so far. More than any other installment of the Harvester novels I have read so far (Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse and The Empress of One), this is a tale of strong-willed women taking action. Therefore, anyone who enjoys strong female leads will love both Lark and her mother, Arlene Erhardt. In addition, this would appeal to historical fiction fans, some religious fiction fans, as Lark works through life’s problems through the filter of her budding faith, and those who enjoy romances, though this one ends sadly. Satisfying despite the sadness; a genuine look at life. Though Arlene is the sympathetic character, I did have a hard time with some of her choices, which bulldozed those around her and bordered on “hardness.” Her relationship with her husband is sad, in that they never sat down and took the time to lay out what they wanted because they were too busy being mad at each other and hurting one another from that anger. Lark’s outlook on life was a bit mature for a child at times, but her emotional processing was honest and spot on. Breaks the heart to remember the burdens children can place on themselves. Tragedy prevails in both Betty’s marriage, a projection of Arlene upon Betty, and Lark’s family. I really wish the ending had been different. While I understand Arlene’s decision, I was rooting for a different choice.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Kim Whitley-Gaynor

    This was a really good book that I picked up for $1 at a thrift store. I enjoyed it quite a bit because it reminded me of being raised Catholic and not understanding many of the religious beliefs of that religion. The book is written from a 6-year old child's perspective. Frequently her observations about Catholicism, babies, what her mother told her, etc, were illuminating and some quite humorous. Here are a few quotes from the book: "It was difficult to imagine that there were thousands of This was a really good book that I picked up for $1 at a thrift store. I enjoyed it quite a bit because it reminded me of being raised Catholic and not understanding many of the religious beliefs of that religion. The book is written from a 6-year old child's perspective. Frequently her observations about Catholicism, babies, what her mother told her, etc, were illuminating and some quite humorous. Here are a few quotes from the book: "It was difficult to imagine that there were thousands of people in the world without the blackness of mortal sin on their souls. There were only three people in my family, and we were all headed for hell as things stood. Sometimes I thought that if I were born again, I’d like to be a Methodist, like Katherine Albers." "Besides becoming pretty, I wanted to become wise and clever like Peggy. Mama said that being wise was knowing what to do with being clever. I had written that down because I wasn’t certain I understood." "Mama blamed the Old Country for Grandpa Erhardt’s belief. He’d come to America when he was twelve. What you learned before twelve, you never put aside, Mama said." “Don’t you ever want to get married?” Mama asked Beverly. “Godsakes, no.” “You don’t ever want to have a baby?” “They’re just trouble and they cost a lot of money.” “What if your mama thought that?” Mama asked. “She does.” "There wasn’t anything to say about the tap dancing lessons at Martha Beverton’s except that I was the worst pupil in the class, worse even than the little kindergarten dancers, so I told him that. Mama said that people enjoy hearing about other people’s failures. It gives them hope."

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christine Schaffer

    The narrator of The Cape Ann is six to eight year old Lark Erhardt who with her mother dreams of building a house The Cape Ann model. Each time her mother saves for the down payment her father gambles it away. Set in the small fictional town of Harvester, Minnesota during the depression we see life through the innocent eyes of a child. Getting ready for her first holy communion Lark tries to understand her Catholic religion, unclear on what is a sin and what isn't and who will go to heaven. Will The narrator of The Cape Ann is six to eight year old Lark Erhardt who with her mother dreams of building a house The Cape Ann model. Each time her mother saves for the down payment her father gambles it away. Set in the small fictional town of Harvester, Minnesota during the depression we see life through the innocent eyes of a child. Getting ready for her first holy communion Lark tries to understand her Catholic religion, unclear on what is a sin and what isn't and who will go to heaven. Will she, will her parents? By her observations her whole family is headed for hell. She believes babies come from the stork and it is her responsibility to catch her aunt's baby when the stork drops it. She witnesses the marital problems of her parents, her harsh father and her strong willed mother. She see the hobos and wonders what their story is. She witnesses the shell shock of her neighbor and friend Hilly and hears the boots of the Germans in her sleep as America prepares for World War II. There is so much more to this book, but not much plot. The characters are the book, Lark, of course, her driven mother Arlene, her hapless father Willie, her friend, war hero, Hilly Stillman, her Aunt Betty, both sets of her grandparents and more. I found this book after reading Faith Sullivan's Goodnight Mr. Wodehouse. Written over twenty years after The Cape Ann. It returns to Harvester and this time focuses on the life of Hilly Stillman's mother. It's another great one, a little more plot driven.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Andrea Dowd

    If you loved "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter", you'll enjoy "The Cape Ann". For me, the setting of small town Minnesota in the last legs of the Great Depression hit really close to home as I am from one of those towns and my family made it through that terrible time. The characters are rich and the story is heart-breakingly told from a child's perspective. By the time I got to the end, I couldn't tell if I was convinced the protagonist was better off or if she was going to be affected negatively If you loved "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter", you'll enjoy "The Cape Ann". For me, the setting of small town Minnesota in the last legs of the Great Depression hit really close to home as I am from one of those towns and my family made it through that terrible time. The characters are rich and the story is heart-breakingly told from a child's perspective. By the time I got to the end, I couldn't tell if I was convinced the protagonist was better off or if she was going to be affected negatively by the changes. The novel is a quick read and really quiet good when put up next to Carson McCuller's novel. Read it!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Loretta Kalamaroff

    This is my 2nd Faith Sullivan book. She's a wonderful Minnesota writer who captures Midwestern small town life with a keen, nuanced style, especially the women in her books. And The Cape Ann is seen through the eyes of a very young girl, enabling the reader to remember the dizziness of trying to figure out adults, religion and fibs children are told about babies and Santa. Marriage and family life are finely plotted, including the old 'what will the neighbors think' point of view. A lovely, This is my 2nd Faith Sullivan book. She's a wonderful Minnesota writer who captures Midwestern small town life with a keen, nuanced style, especially the women in her books. And The Cape Ann is seen through the eyes of a very young girl, enabling the reader to remember the dizziness of trying to figure out adults, religion and fibs children are told about babies and Santa. Marriage and family life are finely plotted, including the old 'what will the neighbors think' point of view. A lovely, lovely book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kathi

    So I read this book several years ago and loved it. After reading her book Good Night Mr. Wodehouse I felt I should reread The Cape Ann. I’m so glad I did. I so feel like my life was so much like Larks. In fact so much so it hurt to read certain parts. The dysfunctional home life, being Catholic in a small town populated by Norwegian Lutherans and so much more. Arlene’s compassion for the underdog and disadvantaged was so like my mother. Unfortunately Willie was way too much like my father. So I read this book several years ago and loved it. After reading her book Good Night Mr. Wodehouse I felt I should reread The Cape Ann. I’m so glad I did. I so feel like my life was so much like Larks. In fact so much so it hurt to read certain parts. The dysfunctional home life, being Catholic in a small town populated by Norwegian Lutherans and so much more. Arlene’s compassion for the underdog and disadvantaged was so like my mother. Unfortunately Willie was way too much like my father. Lucky for Lark her mother got her out of there.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lori Adams

    A must read and a staple on every bookshelf. Excellent story of a family during the depression and the start of World War II. Narrated by Lark, a 6 year old, who is learning life's lessons through her life and that of her family in small town Minnesota. Such a wonderful read. So touching and interesting to see life through a young child's eyes. Their fears, happiness, anger, disappointments and dreams within this lovely, well-written book.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Wendi

    This story is told through the eyes of a 6 year-old girl and we follow along with her for the next few years. It is both beautiful and heartbreaking, as real life always is. Some of the things that came up never really got answered for me, but that’s real life as well. Sometimes there are no answers or nicely wrapped up endings. It reads like a quick read but with so much more depth. A true gem that I would recommend to anyone who loves to feel.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Cate

    I really liked this book at the beginning, but as the tale wore on I grew indifferent to most of the characters. Their generally self inflicted wounds failed to elicit sympathy; rather I got increasingly frustrated with them. Maybe that was the point? In any case, not a book I could really recommend. Might feel differently had I read as part of a book group where hearing others' experiences of the story may have illuminated mine in another light

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jane Harris

    Focused upon a bygone era, the book provided a fascinating glimpse into small town life during period prior to WWII. It was interesting to note how the status of women has changed (and remained the same) in the ensuing decades. As a Catholic, I found the author's description of church attitudes to be right on target. Thankfully, there have been changes, but not enough of them in my point of view.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Joan Macdonald

    I enjoyed most of this novel. The story is told by a young girl and her innocence about various events is especially fun. At one point, she spends most of her time watching for a stork to drop a baby and being ready to catch it. I did not like reading about the physical abuse and this made me label it as 4 stars instead of 5.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lorrie

    This is a YA novel with so much heart I fell in love with the characters! Set in a small Minnesota town during the Depression, the narrator is a six-year-old girl recounting a year or two in her life. The Cape Anne is a floor plan she and her mother fantasize about for their future home. This book is funny, heart-wrenching, and absolutely delightful.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Meg

    A coming of age tale of a girl growing up during the depression. Reminded me of my mother a bit as Lark was also going to Sunday school classes in preparation for reconciliation and first communion. Many of the stories of the nuns reminded me of stories my mom told. They put the fear of God into you!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Hausken

    I started reading this book at least a decade ago when my friend, Julie Reimer recommended it. I just couldn't get into then. I actually ended up reading the sequel "Empress of One" first. Well, I finally finished it, and I really enjoyed it. Lark's voice is fresh and bright without being childish or annoying. She has such insight on the world. I might have to read Empress of One again!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Carroll

    Lark Erhardt, the six-year-old narrator of The Cape Ann, and her fiercely independent mother dream of owning their own house; they have their hearts set on the Cape Ann, chosen from a house catalog. But when Lark's father's gambling threatens the down payment her mother has worked so hard to save, Lark's mother takes matters into her own indomitable hands. A disarmingly in

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