Gardenias: A Novel

Faith Sullivan

Published by Milkweed Editions, 2006
ISBN 10: 1571310525 / ISBN 13: 9781571310521
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Synopsis: A month after the United States enters World War II, the country is in upheaval and so is the Erhardt family. Nine-year-old Lark, her mother Arlene, and Aunt Betty are heading for San Diego, far away from Harvester, Minnesota and Arlene’s shiftless husband. In the booming wartime economy, Arlene and Betty are soon at work, leaving Lark alone to explore their new neighborhood, a wartime housing project full of others with similarly uprooted lives. Away from prying eyes and small town expectations, the two women begin to forge new lives and new dreams dreams that Lark isn’t always comfortable with. This richly detailed novel, told through Lark’s observant eyes, reflects the era’s tumultuous events in the everyday dramas of its memorable, finely nuanced characters.

From Booklist: Lark Ann Erhardt, her mother, Arlene, and her aunt Betty join the thousands of people migrating to California during the 1940s war years. Her parents' marriage is in disarray, as told in Sullivan's previous novel, The Cape Ann (1988). Arlene and Betty are resolute in their desire to establish new lives for themselves and to find work in the war plants now desperate for workers. Nine-year-old Lark is a keen observer and patient narrator of life's twists and incongruities as she settles in to life in a San Diego housing project with the two women. Always hoping for reconciliation between her parents, Lark is confused by her circumstances but is a resilient child protective of her real and her extended family of new friends. Sullivan fills Lark's world with flawed, complex adults as well as other children. As all children do, Lark learns that some decisions and events are incomprehensible and irrevocably change one's life. Sullivan's leisurely pacing provides a quiet view into Lark's fears, hopes, and growing maturity. Laurie Sundborg
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Title: Gardenias: A Novel
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Publication Date: 2006
Book Condition: Good

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