When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge
Today it is my great pleasure to be Jennie Shortridge’s host on her TLC Book Tour for her novel, When She Flew. I would like to thank her for sending me both a copy of her book for review as well as one to give away to a lucky reader. Please see the end of my review for a list of the blogs who are on this tour with me.
I have a lot of fun working as a tour host for TLC Book Tours. They always have great books and authors on tour. Check out their website for more information on this tour and the others that they are hosting.
What our ancestors would have considered minimally acceptable living conditions greatly differs from what would be considered acceptable today. Houses are not a recent invention, but even in the early 1900s people in the United States lived in sod homes as the America expanded West. Those same ancestors survived and thrived, leading us to where we are today. Regardless, choosing to live in the outdoors on property you don’t own is now against the law. If you do so with your minor child, you run the risk of having your family broken up by Social Services and being charged with neglect. Raymond Wiggs discovers just after bird watchers tip off the police after spotting his daughter Melinda alone after she wandered off too far entranced by a beautiful blue heron. After locating the two along with several of her fellow police officers from Columbia, Oregon, Jess Villareal questions whether the state is capable of determining what is best for this family. She questions whether she can actively participate in taking Lindy away from Ray – even for a short time. As divorced mother estranged from her only daughter and grandson, her career in the police force is the only thing that makes her feel whole. Is Jess willing to risk even that to ensure that this small, peculiar family remains together?
Birds play a prominent role in this novel. The title evokes flight and Lindy is fascinated by them, devouring all that she can about the birds native to the Pacific Northwest. It is not surprising that from the very beginning of this novel, which opens with Lindy’s report on barn owls, I was reminded of the following verse from the Gospel of Matthew:
Look at the birds of the air, that they do not sow, nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not worth much more than they? ~ Matthew 6:26
While I might not want to live in a forest, many birds do and they are just fine. Ray and Lindy had made peace with nature and lived there happily for many years before they were discovered. Given that it has been done since the beginning of time, why couldn’t – and why shouldn’t – someone with the proper knowledge of the outdoors live in a well-constructed tree house? If that person is a loving parent who makes his child’s well-being and education a priority, why shouldn’t that person be left alone to raise his family as he sees fit? Yesterday’s luxuries are today’s requirements it seems. In another 100 years, would society find our homes and our parenting neglectful? Has society lost sight of what is truly important to sustain life? There isn’t an easy answer to these questions, which are sure to spark some interesting and lively conversations.
Until agreeing to host this TLC Book Tour, I had never read any of Jennie Shortridge’s fiction. I am so thrilled that I took a chance on her and on When She Flew. I found it to be thought-provoking, fast-paced, and fun to read. The plot never suffered as we learned more about Jess and Lindy’s past, their insecurities, their regrets, and their joys. It felt right that a mother longing to be part of her own daughter’s life again would fight so hard to see that Lindy and Ray stayed together. She provides Lindy with the strong and secure female role model her mother could never be. It also made me question my perceptions of what makes a home both physically and emotionally. I was as entertained throughout this novel as I was satisfied when I finished it.
I have a copy of When She Flew to give away to one of my readers. This contest is open to readers from the United States only. I would love to make it international, but my shipping budget isn’t what it used to be earlier this year.
Entering this contest is easy. Simply leave a comment here telling me what your favorite bird is and why. The contest is open until 11:59 pm EST on Saturday, December 19th. I’m planning on announcing the winner on December 20th, my dear husband’s birthday.
For the record, my favorite bird is the American Robin, the State Bird of Michigan. Isn’t he beautiful against the backdrop of the tulips? I wonder if he isn’t really Dutch like me?
Jennie Shortridge’s TLC Book Tours TOUR STOPS:
Thursday, December 3rd: The 3 R’s Blog: Reading, ‘Riting, and Randomness
Monday, December 7th: Linus’ Blanket
Tuesday, December 8th: Book, Line, and Sinker
Wednesday, December 9th: Luxury Reading
Monday, December 14th: Book Addiction
Tuesday, December 15th: Hey, Lady! What’cha Readin’?
Wednesday, December 16th: A Novel Menagerie
Thursday, December 17th: Book Club Classics
Monday, December 21st: Entertainment Realm
Tuesday, December 22nd: Dolce Bellezza
Monday, December 28th: Book Chatter
Tuesday, December 29th: Caribousmom
Wednesday, December 30th: Presenting Lenore
Monday, January 4th: The Brain Lair
Tuesday, January 5th: Redlady’s Reading Room