Flapjack Waltzes) moving if occasionally patchy novel opens as 12-year-old Ellie has just inherited a Vermont farm and a suitcase of family diaries "/>
 

MOUNTAIN POSE

Nancy Hope Wilson, Author
Nancy Hope Wilson, Author MOUNTAIN POSENancy Hope Wilso $17 (240p) ISBN 978-0-374-35078-9
Paperback - 233 pages - 978-0-439-44153-7
Prebound-Other - 978-0-606-29500-0
Prebound-Other - 978-0-613-72184-4
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Wilson's (Flapjack Waltzes) moving if occasionally patchy novel opens as 12-year-old Ellie has just inherited a Vermont farm and a suitcase of family diaries from her estranged maternal grandmother, Aurelia. Still missing her own mother, who died seven years earlier, Ellie shares her father and maternal uncle's suspicions about the legacy. Aurelia, cut off by both her children, had never been known to do anything generous. Ellie's father is refreshingly candid: "[Ellie's mother] died seven years ago. If Aurelia wanted to do something for Ellie, why didn't we hear from her then?" At times, Ellie is seen as a believably bright and curious girl. Deciphering the diaries, she pieces together the family history and uncovers a compelling reason for Aurelia's apparent cruelties—a cycle of physical abuse across several generations. But elsewhere, Ellie is given insights and sentiments beyond her years, as when she points out to her uncle Lyman his tendency to withdraw just like his mother. Occasional overwriting, as in the insertions of feminist viewpoints in the diaries and the repetitive use of the mountain pose motif (a reference to a yoga exercise), contributes to some slow moments. However, the gradual illumination of the hidden abuse and Wilson's compassionate approach, including the palpable vulnerability of family members, will likely hold the interest of young readers. Ages 10-up. (Apr.)

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