Journal

Review: Annie’s Stories by Cindy Thomson

When I first saw the cover of this book, for whatever reason, Anne of Green Gables came to mind. Then I looked closer and noticed that the girl on the cover is reading The Wizard of Oz. While I’ve never read the book, I’ve been enchanted with the movie. These two things together made me pick up the book. As I started reading, some of the characters felt familiar–like old friends. I soon realized that this is a sequel in a series. The first being a novel called Grace’s Pictures. I remembered reading that one, and I really enjoyed it. I’m always pleased when I find a book that is a sequel to one I already enjoyed or an author I loved reading.

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Annie’s Stories is a novel that explores how we find home.

From Amazon: 

The year is 1901, the literary sensation The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is taking New York City by storm, and everyone wonders where the next great book will come from. But to Annie Gallagher, stories are more than entertainment—they’re a sweet reminder of her storyteller father. After his death, Annie fled Ireland for the land of dreams, finding work at Hawkins House.

But when a fellow boarder with something to hide is accused of misconduct and authorities threaten to shut down the boardinghouse, Annie fears she may lose her new friends, her housekeeping job . . . and her means of funding her dream: a memorial library to honor her father. Furthermore, the friendly postman shows a little too much interest in Annie—and in her father’s unpublished stories. In fact, he suspects these tales may hold a grand secret.

Though the postman’s intentions seem pure, Annie wants to share her father’s stories on her own terms. Determined to prove herself, Annie must forge her own path to aid her friend and create the future she’s always envisioned . . . where dreams really do come true.

While the book felt a bit slow at times, and I got frustrated with characters, I did really enjoy this book. The message of the book is encouraging. So many times, what people, especially our loved ones, do can have such strong repercussions. Both the main characters have to come to terms with things their respective fathers had done. Both are haunted by something in their pasts that they need to come to grips with.

Thomson does a wonderful job of dropping hints about the story from early on. The reader won’t even notice until it becomes relevant. Her use of the Wizard of Oz and home is a wonderful metaphor for this whole story.

One of the enjoyable aspects of historical fiction is getting a look into a snapshot of history. For me, the excitement surrounding The Wizard of Oz was a strong appeal in this novel. Living in a culture so inundated with L. Frank Baum’s classic, it is easy to overlook the magic of the story. But it did have an impact on literature, especially children’s stories. Seeing the character’s enjoy this popular story for the first time was wonderful (I even enjoyed reading the snippets of it that Thomson placed in her novel- I have to admit I have not read The Wizard of Oz).

If you read and enjoyed Grace’s Pictures, then I am sure you will enjoy this book as well. Especially since the story of Grace and Owen is continued (in the background of course). If you haven’t read it, don’t worry- this book can be read as a stand-alone novel.

For more on the author or this book, please check out the following links:

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**I received a free copy of this book from Tyndale Publishing and NetGalley in exchange for my honest review**

 

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