Sunday 19 August 2018

Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners

Finished August 12
Evergreen Tidings from the Baumgartners by Gretchen Anthony

This fun novel, coming out later this fall, takes an inside look at a Midwest family where things don't always go as the matriarch wishes. Violet Baumgartner has managed the lives of her husband and children as much as she can, but she can't always control things. The novel intersperses a selection of Violet's annual Christmas letters with events as they unfolded over the months from last fall when her husband Ed retired from his research position at BioTech.
The book opens with an incident in June, when Violet is being questioned by police over someone being punched, and a woman yelling out a question. Violet knows some of the answers to his questions, but she doesn't want to admit it. It is followed by the events beginning in December with Ed's retirement party.
Violet's daughter Cerise loves her mother dearly, but is frustrated that she hasn't acknowledged Cerise's sexuality, in spite of being friendly with her long-term partner Barb. Cerise is now pregnant, and Violet's need to know everything is definitely going to be an issue. Cerise hasn't told her yet, as she is waiting until after her dad's party, so as not to steal the limelight or distract her mom from all the planning. But when someone else discloses the information in front of everyone, things start going a little off the rails.
This book has a lot of humour, the growth of Violet as a person as she comes to terms with her daughter's real life, and family issues all round.
I found it a quick and enjoyable read, that surprised and entertained.

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