Skyward - Mary Alice Monroe

Released June 2011

Mary Alice Monroe
Mira Books

Reviewed by Tracy Farnsworth

There was something so familiar about Mary Alice Monroe's Skyward. My first goal before starting this review was to find out if this was a reissued novel. I knew the plot, right down to the ending. Sure enough, this is a reissue. It was originally released in 2003.

Harris Henderson operates a sanctuary for injured birds of prey. His wife, a drug addict, abandoned both Harris and their daughter years ago, breezing in and out of their lives when she pleases. When Harris's daughter, Marion, collapses while shopping, she's rushed to the ER where Harris learns she has diabetes. Knowing he can't manage her required care alone, Harris hires a live-in nanny to help out.

Ella Majors quit her hospital job after seeing another child die unnecessarily. She hopes working as a private nurse/nanny to five-year-old Marion will give her a chance to move on. Ella never expects to fall madly in love with Marion's father and find herself becoming a mother to the young girl. However, there are uphill battles that both Ella and Harris face if they're going to make their relationship last.

I'm a huge fan of Mary Alice Monroe's novels. She writes with a poignancy that few authors capture. Her settings and characters come to life. When blended with the emotional plots, it's hard not to get wrapped up in the entire story from start to finish. As I read, however, it became clearer and clearer that I'd read the story. One point stuck out and that's when I was certain I'd read this book before. The author gives her Vermont character a dialect that really isn't heard in much of Vermont. It's really the old Vermont farmers that use words like "ayup." I've lived here for 39 years and the only times I've ever heard that word spoken was in a radio commercial for Vermont wood stoves or when I was in a small Maine town on vacation. It shouldn't bother me, but I really don't like being stereotyped as a state full of people who talk like that.

Regardless, I enjoyed Skyward just as much this second time around. Even though I knew the key points and knew what happened in the end, I still had fun getting caught up in Harris and Ella's story.


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