When I read the inside blurb to this book, I couldn’t wait to tear into and read it. The story is set in 1974 in a small town in Illinois . A single mother runs and lives in a Bed and Breakfast with her daughter, Penny, and a quirky housekeeper, Gretta. The story is told from the point of view of Penny who is thirteen for the main part of the story but the story does jump back in her life for back story.
What makes this B&B unique is the times that heroines from classic fiction books and folktales come for visits. This is what caught my eye! Madame Bovary, Scarlett O'Hara, and Catherine Linton are just a few of the famous ladies that come to visit. I assumed from the description of the book that a good majority of the story would be based around these ladies and how the characters interact with them. We learn quickly Penny has no patience for her mother or for the characters when they come to visit. She feels jealous and neglected by her mother. You can truly feel for Penny throughout the story
My biggest disappointment with the novel is that the story didn’t revolve around these ladies but revolves around the time Penny spends in the mental ward of a juvenile facility. The short time the classic characters are visiting the Bed and Breakfast is interesting as most of them come during a stressful, traumatic part of their lives. I spent the whole story dying to know how these characters even become real in the first place. The description near the end of the novel was another disappointment for me.
This is Eileen Favorite’s debut novel. While I hoped the story went into a different direction, the way she wrote this novel is great! Favorite draws you into the main characters of Penny, Anne-Marie and Gretta yet the heroines could use a little bit more "life" then how Favorite portrayed them. The story flows smoothly and quickly. She keeps you interested and wanting to know why and how during every turn of the plot.
I do recommend this book for a lazy weekend read but don’t let the description and paperback cover of the book fool you into thinking Scarlett O’Hara goes into one of her famous tirades.