by Jeanne Birdsall
The Penderwicks is about four sisters, Rosalind, Skye, Jane, and Batty (short for Elizabeth), their dog, Hound, and their father, when they get fatefully stuck in Arundel, a fancy estate where their summer cottage is. Being stuck in Arundel turns into a good thing when they meet Jeremy, the landlady's son. All together, they explore Arundel and see all that it has to offer, face strict parents, and learn what true friendship is.
-(Very cheesy summary, I know.)
Ah...what can I say about this book, other than it was one of the BEST books I've ever read in a long time? It was just so sweet, and peaceful, and very...umm...how do I say it? Summer-y. To quote the blurb on the back of the book, "this is a story as breezy and carefree as a summer day." When I was reading it, it suddenly felt as if I got transported to a hot July afternoon, and I was sitting in my backyard, underneath some shade, and watching the story unfold. :-D
I adored all the characters, especially the Penderwicks family! I loved the relationship between them, and how they worked together to solve their problems. The four Penderwick sisters were all likeable and relatable in one way or another. Being the oldest child in my family, and having spent the several past few summers hanging out with my younger neighbors, I could relate to Rosalind quite a bit (but I don't exactly remember being that mature when I was twelve). I liked Skye's need for independence, Jane's love of books, and Batty was just cool being Batty. :P
The plot itself was fairly simple, yet charming. The story and the characters start to grow on you as you go along. I enjoyed the first few pages, but it wasn't until a certain apology made by Jane a couple of chapters in, that it wholly won me over. I wish I could quote it, but sadly, the book is back in the library shelves, where it belongs. But anyway, I don't know how anyone can not like a story that involves rabbits, delicous brownies, books about the Civil War, cranky moms, a teeny dash of romance, great escapades, and crazy, wild bulls. Yeah, seriously, it's really good. ;)
I heartily recommend this to anyone who likes a wonderful, cozy, feel-good, quick read. It's just what you need if you feel like escaping the cold for a while. :)