I'm loving these books. Still in the middle of ECHO because someone else picked it up in the house and I hate sharing bookmarks. Since I typically have several books going at once, I didn't mind but it's all mine again now. What a beautifully told fable-like tale, at once modern and yet timeless. Pam Munoz Ryan is one of my favorite authors and I have a feeling that when I finish this book, I'll want to go back to re-read the beginning. It's magical in the best way possible.
The Hired Girl by Laura Amy Schlitz is another amazing book that one just wants to go back and read over. It's in a diary format and I can only wish to write so beautifully in mine! Yes, I found myself jealous of a fictional character -- Joan. LOL. She's based upon the author's grandmother. I loved that she had the gumption to run away from home (her father is a mean man who burns her three treasures) and go after the dream. And does she ever! She providentially ends up working in a good Jewish home. And since she knows not a whit about Jewish people other than the Bible and Ivanhoe, it is interesting to see her learning about Jewish customs from a Catholic viewpoint. I liked that being religious was simply a part of who she was. The relationships with the various members of the family were richly drawn, and I especially loved the relationship between the older orthodox Jewish servant and Joan. And Joan, only 14 (but pretending to be 18) finally gets a bit of mothering and fathering that she is desperately in need of. This is a book I'll be reading many times. Ms. Schlitz, you've done it again!!!!