Music and melodrama waft on the ocean breezes as the Penderwicks spend time on the Maine coast, in the third installment about this charming family.
Well, most of the Penderwicks. Dad’s on his honeymoon; eldest sister Rosalind is away at the Jersey shore. Joining the three remaining sisters and their beloved aunt is dear friend Jeffrey, introduced in the first novel. Skye, second eldest, is now overseer of her sisters and isn’t happy about it, especially when the third, Jane, develops a crush on a most unworthy boy. Then Batty, the youngest, confounds everyone by discovering musical talent that no Penderwick has ever displayed. Most dramatic of all is the startling revelation that slowly reveals itself in the musician living next door. Readers who enjoyed the previous books (The Penderwicks, 2005; The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, 2008) will like this one, too, because of its cozy familiarity, and Birdsall writes with a warm, sure hand. The girls are, as usual, kind, endearing, self-possessed, self-aware and comforting. Readers will also be happy, though wary, about the surprise disclosure but will likely see it coming. That’s OK. Penderwick fans like their stories old-fashioned, replete with coincidences and gently soap-opera–esque elements.
Somewhere, there are families like the Penderwicks. Lucky them. The rest of us just get to read about them. Lucky us. (Fiction. 9-12)