The Orphan Daughter by Cari Noga
Cari Noga's The Orphan Daughter seems incredibly timely. As some in our current government have crowds riled up thinking Mexican's are all illegals and need to be shipped back over the border, this presents a more honest take. I live in an area where migrants work on farms. They do the jobs few others will do for what seems like a criminally low rate of pay. Farm workers are often up and working by 3 a.m. and must be outside for hours in the sun and humidity.
Jane McCardle has overcome loss. Her stillborn daughter was the first of many heartbreaks. Since her son joined the military and her husband left her for another woman, Jane's been an empty nester. She's turned things around and operates an organic farm in Michigan. Another curve is thrown her way when she learns she's the guardian of her newly orphaned pre-teen niece, Lucy.
Lucy is a city girl. Her life in New York with an au pair and two loving parents is everything to her. She's shocked when her parents are killed in a tragic accident. Moving to Michigan with an aunt she barely knows is just not acceptable when she's already suffering a tremendous loss.
Once in Michigan, Lucy is not happy. She does meet a local boy, but she dreams of moving to Mexico to live with her father's sister. She wants to be surrounded by her Mexican heritage. Living on a farm with a woman who is devoted to all things farming is not enjoyable.
Jane isn't sure how to handle her niece. She's lost one daughter. She never thought she'd have a second chance. Now that she does, she doesn't seem to be able to do anything right. Is there a way for these two lonely souls to form a bond and see a new family form from the ashes of pain and loss?
Lucy is definitely immature, but she's also young. She doesn't quite realize that Mexico is not a safe, warm, welcoming place to all. As she gets to know the Mexicans living in Jane's farm community, it's nice to see Lucy change and mature.
There were times I disliked Jane's reactions, but I suppose being lonely for so long will cause struggles dealing with tricky situations. I loved the setting. I loved the descriptions of the farm. I enjoyed watching them build a relationship at a very realistic speed.
Lake Union Publishing has released another strong read with The Orphan Daughter. I do love this publisher's women's fiction novels. They're always packed with emotion and thorougly enjoyable.