“I’m drawn to the 1950s for lots of reasons – everything from the fashion to the increasing sense of freedom and modernity that builds throughout the decade.”
I couldn’t agree more with Sara’s quote above.
I was so excited when Maryellen Larkin was announced as the first BeForever exclusive character in the spring of 2015. I loved the cover of this book immediately. Her outfit is on point, and the stories were set in Florida. Sign me up!
I was slightly disappointed when I learned the setting was Daytona Beach (I have significant bias toward Miami, and the Gulf Coast – St. Petersburg, etc.), but nonetheless, I knew I wanted to read the books.
Maryellen’s first book immerses you in a world where Maryellen, or Ellie, is trying to find her place in a huge family – One of six children!
That wasn’t unusual in the 1950s, which the author explains brilliantly at the end of the book, with the time of optimism, a stronger economy, and the baby boom.
Although the book carries quite a sunny disposition throughout, there’s always some conflict or issues sprinkled in. This one addresses the ending of World War II, the Cold War, and scenarios around friendship, bullying, and prejudice.
Maryellen’s character had me laughing, as well as shaking my head. Being stuck in the middle between two older sisters and then a younger sister and two younger brothers, it’s natural she would feel a bit underappreciated and vying for her parents’ attention and being in good graces with her siblings. As an only child, this is something that I did not have to deal with growing up!
Despite several missteps and misadventures along the way, Maryellen is bright, determined, and compassionate. There’s a new girl at the start of school, and Maryellen decides to be the bigger person and show compassion toward her, when her other friends tend to be stuck in the past.
The first story wraps up around Christmastime, which had a strange effect on me. It was a good ending, but closing the book made my mind instantly flood with memories.
I thought of my childhood Christmases that were divided between Virginia and Florida.
I thought of the times and memories with my grandparents.
My dad’s dad is still alive, still doing well at 90. I want to go visit him again, very soon.
So many memories.
I’m very excited to start reading volume 2 – The sneak peek promises several surprises!
4 1/2 out of 5 stars.
Until the next headline, Laura Beth 🙂