Publisher and Publication Date: Image Cascade Publishing,1999. First published in 1948.
Genre: Young adult fiction. The series was written for young girls.
Format: Kindle e-book.
Source: Self purchase.
Audience: Readers with an interest in mid 1940s America. Readers who enjoy a family story.
Link @ Amazon.
To read a biography of Lenora Mattingly Weber: Image Cascade.
And at Goodreads, another biography plus a list of her books: Goodreads.
In the first book in this series (total of 14 books), Catherine Cecilia Malone or Beany is the youngest sister and a secondary character, but in this book, she is the principal character.
In the first book, Meet the Malones, I learn their mother died, their father is a journalist, there are two older sisters, followed by one brother, and Beany is the youngest.
The second book continues the Malone story:
The year is 1945 and the war is over. It is the fall of the year. The place is Denver, Colorado.
Elizabeth is the eldest sister; she has a young son and she’s waiting for her husband to return home. He was overseas during World War II, and he has a serious injury.
Mary Fred is the second eldest sister. She is a college freshman but is held up taking one final course in high school to be a full college freshman, that course is Chemistry. She wants to be in a sorority. Her friend is Lila.
Johnny is a senior in high school. He is a writer, and he’s working on a nonfiction history story about an early settler in Denver.
Beany is 16. She’s a sophomore in high school with a heart-felt crush on a boy who is not nice. He actually hates the family. Beany’s dad shares information with her that will impact the whole family. He tells her first which is interesting because she is the youngest. In reading between the lines, I believe the father feels she is trustworthy and mature.
I am a member of a Facebook group for those who love Lenora Mattingly Weber’s books. Several in the group have remarked they love the early books in the series rather than the later books. The main reason for the later books is they dislike the male personalities and how they treat people. So, it will be interesting for me to read the further books. I feel a big reason for their feelings is the culture and society differences of the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s. People in history did not live like we do in 2022.
What I love about this book:
1. I love reading old sayings. For example: fiddle-faddle, fling, big shots.
2. I love the substory of Elizabeth and her husband. Towards the end of the story, they have serious struggles to overcome. This story gave me a lesson in what couples went through after World War II.
3. I love the internal and external struggle between Beany and Norbert. Despite how she feels about him, and his hurtful words, she does not change who she is to seek revenge and retaliation. I believe this shows the depth of her character.
4. Weber’s writing is excellent at setting the mood and tone of the various situations in the story.
5. I love the maturity of Elizabeth. She takes time from the serious stuff in her own life to share wise words to her family.
6. I love the hidden gems of wisdom and grace and love in the family.
7. The story weaves in a moral lesson in honesty. An adult who should be mature and honest is not. Instead, a young person marvels the family with honesty.
8. In the first book there is a theme about socio-economic levels of people. Those in the higher income versus those who are working class families who struggle to make ends meet. This book shares a bit of the same. Add to this sororities and popular kids at school and the struggle for those who try and become one of them.
9. Beany is a young girl who wants to take care of people-save-fix-make peace. She finds out not all people need or want her help and interference. She is actually remarkable in certain areas of maturity but as all people who have ever been a young person there are things to learn.
Themes: coming of age, family honor, romance, suffering, judgment, wisdom, trust, gratitude, charity, hope, dreams, acceptance, kindness, compassion, bravery, and honesty.