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Dandelion Summer - Book Review

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Dandelion Summer

Author: Mary Ellen Bramwell
Genre: Fiction - Mystery - Sleuth
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Date Published: May 3, 2019
ISBN-10: 1684332796
ISBN-13: 9781684332793

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GoodReads Rating:
4.30

Book Review of :  Dandelion Summer



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A fourteen-year-old girl, Madelyn has enough problems developing from a child to an adult without a life “choked by unwanted disruptions”. Dandelion Summer by Mary Ellen Bramwell is more than a coming of age contemporary novel. Madelyn is looking forward to summer vacation, but trauma in the form of secrets and lies of omission complicate her life. Her beloved father must spend the summer out of town at a training leaving her somewhat dysfunctional mother depending on her for help with the household and two younger siblings. Madelyn is resentful and confused. The reader will emphasize with her moodiness and anger.

A second story, flashing back to during and after WWII, is slipped in to gradually mesh with Madelyn’s family dynamics. She and her mother are at odds when she is told that unusual happenings are none of her business. “There is much that you don’t know or understand. The world isn’t as cut and dried as you’d like to believe it is. And it doesn’t conform to your way of thinking, just because you wish it so”. Mom apologizes later but adds that they made a decision not to involve her for her own sake even though it was confusing.

The story becomes more complicated as the reader learns of some of the secrets kept from Madelyn and how she handles it. The bonds between parent and child are at stake. Wallowing in self-pity, Madelyn sums up the adults in her life. Uncle Tommy wasn’t a terrible disappointment. Mom had been lying to her. Grandpa wasn’t around for some unknown reason, and Dad wasn’t around except by phone. And then there was Mrs. Burnham. The author captures each character’s personality especially Mrs. Burnham, the widow next door. Mrs. Burnham challenges Madelyn saying that she doesn’t think Madelyn’s mom is “up to the challenge of running the place by herself” with her dad gone. “I can’t imagine what the inside must look like”…”I do, however, worry that your yard might become an eyesore” with all those dandelions blowing seeds into her yard.

A murder, home invasions, stalking, and fear, have ripple effects throughout the family. Madelyn learns how one person’s actions or inactions can affect so many. Will her mother give her credit for growing up? Does she show maturity?

This young adult novel is an excellent read for middle school and older readers as it is fast-paced with suspense and mystery as well as the expressed feelings of a teenaged girl.

 


Reviewed by: Carol W

About Mary Ellen Bramwell


Mary Ellen Bramwell, an award-winning writer and author of The Apple of My Eye and When I Was Seven, has been writing short stories since she was ten. She is the mother of five and currently lives with her youngest son and her husband of over 35 years in the Mountain West. She enjoys reading and playing games but is passionate about her family and alleviating the suffering of others.





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