Monday 4 July 2016

The Excellent Lombards

Finished July 1
The Excellent Lombards by Jane Hamilton

This novel is narrated by Mary Frances Lombard, As the book begins, she is eleven years old, her brother William is twelve and they are helping their father with haying on the farm. Her father and a cousin Sherwood co-own the farm along with a great-aunt.
Mary Frances is passionate about the farm and wanting to stay there farming when she grows up. She is intimidated by Aunt May Hill, who lives on her own floor of the main house, doesn't talk a lot, but is very handing at repairing things. As Mary Frances grows up, you see her relationships change with her earnest, hardworking father Jim, her librarian mother Nellie, her younger cousin Amanda, her brother William, and all the rest of the people in her life, family and others.
She and William have christened the two houses on the farm Velta and Volta, and are aware the partnership is a relationship that can be fraught at times.
Sherwood's father owned the farm, but when it became necessary, Jim came and worked hard and stayed and was thus rewarded for his loyalty and hard work, but it created a resentment. Aunt May Hill owns the right of way to the barn, an important piece, and while she has no children, she does have a nephew Philip, who also develops a closer relationship with the farm.
As Mary Frances watches the changes in interests, in the way the future might develop, she reacts in ways not always logical.
This is a story of people making a living off the land, but realizing there is a wider world out there, and finding their own way to live in it.
As always, Hamilton is a wonderful writer, giving us access to a character in a way that feels like we really know her.

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