Wednesday, June 4, 2008

by Lesley M.M. Blume
Most enjoyed by girls in 4th grade through 8th grade

Their game of hide-and-seek ended badly. Sadie broke the rules and didn't come home. As evening darkened and Tennyson and Hattie waited for her on the porch, they began to realize that Sadie was never coming home. Their mother, unhappy with the life of responsibility that kept her from writing the stories and poems she loved, leaves the girls and their father. Tennyson and Hattie are sent to Aigredoux, the family mansion along the Mississippi River in Louisiana to be cared for by their Aunt Henrietta whom the girls have never met. Aigredoux is a grand house falling into decay in the woods surrounding it. Aunt Henrietta can't and won't see it, convinced that constant letters to the government seeking a return of the family fortune taken during the Civil War will provide the funding necessary to restore Aigredoux to it's former glory. Only Tennyson is able to see the sadness and gloom that surround the house, dating back to the years before and during the war. As the history of the house and family is revealed to her in dreams, Tennyson writes the story down and sends it off to her mother's favorite literary magazine in hopes that the stories will bring her mother home. As the published stories bring Tennyson fame, they also bring reality home in a painful way, leaving Tennyson with the realization that while Aigredoux's hold is strong, the time that saw it's decay can one day see it flourish again.

Set during the Depression, 'Tennyson' is full of sadness and hope. One minute the reader will feel sorry for Tennyson when her situation appears as bleak as the crumbling house, as history repeats itself in an eerie fashion. The next page reveals a glimmer of hope, created by Tennyson herself, making the dream of a new Aigredoux possible. But Tennyson's story doesn't have the neat, tidy ending she and the reader hope it will have, leaving the reader to think about Tennyson and Aigredoux long after closing the book.

Start 'Tennyson' on a hot, muggy summer evening as you sit outside in the dwindling daylight. You'll feel trasported right to Aigredoux along with Tennyson and Hattie, listening for the hushed sounds of the Mississippi river as you wait, like Tennyson, to hear the voices from the past.

1 comment:

Mrs. Smith said...

This seems like a great book. I can't wait to go out and get it.