Title: At Home in North Branch
Author: Arleta Richardson
Series: Grandma’s Attic, book 8
Major Themes: Michigan, Pioneer Life, School
Synopsis: Mabel’s third year of marriage is quite eventful, including a battle of wills in the classroom, a very long winter, and a case of someone embezzling funds.
I have always loved the Grandma’s Attic books. The first four are the most well-known, but the other six follow Mabel and Sarah Jane through high school and their first few years of teaching school and marriage. At Home in North Branch depicts Mabel’s third year of marriage.
Mabel is very excited to learn who the new surveyor for North Branch will be, and thrilled to have Sarah Jane close again. They still demonstrate their ability to get into unexpected scrapes, though, as they have all their lives. For at least the second time in her life, Mabel manages to lose a buggy! Since she and Len still don’t have a family, she teaches school again. The new manager of the shingle mill has two children who are attending school, and they present Mabel with a new set of challenges. The manager himself presents some challenges which end up involving Mabel and Len as well as Jerome, the owner of the shingle and lumber mills. Mabel is still also challenged with the Lawton family, and has to decide how she will treat Elizabeth Lawton. Is there any way to make peace with the girl who seems to be determined to be Mabel’s enemy?
You will enjoy reading these all-too-real stories of life in frontier Michigan around the year 1895. Humor, especially involving an escape-artist cow, and tragedy both figure in Mabel’s, as well as Sarah Jane’s, life that year. There is also frustration, both with other people and with the weather (who knew spring could hold off so incredibly long?). Mabel is a very real person with very real struggles, but her faith is strong and she lives out what she believes the Bible says.
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12, 10 – 12, 12 – 15
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