Monday, November 16, 2020

PINE ISLAND HOME by Polly Horvath - A story of adventure and family with four orphan sisters


Why you want to read this book…

This absorbing story about four orphan sisters living on their own was just delightful. The characters seemed like they could be loosely based on the girls in Little Women, but this story also reminded me of an old favourite, The Five Little Peppers,  based on the writing style and the predicaments the children experienced. 

The four sisters all had very different personalities and I could see something of myself in each one of them. I especially loved Marlin’s struggles as a writer and how their guardian grew and changed through interacting with them.  I also loved the nature elements-–a bear!—and Natasha’s birding adventures.

The emotions the girls had for their deceased parents were handled so realistically, and yet didn’t drag down the story into sadness. Each chapter was like a new adventure. I loved how not everything was wrapped up neatly at the end. Delightful really is the best word to describe this gem. I hope Polly Horvath is writing a sequel, because I’d love to see what these girls get up to next!


Here’s the summary from the publisher:

Fiona, Marlin, Natasha, and Charlie McCready are left on their own when their missionary parents are washed away in a tsunami. Fortunately, their great aunt Martha volunteers to have them live with her on her farm in British Columbia. But while they are traveling there, Martha dies unexpectedly, forcing Fiona, the eldest, to come up with a scheme to keep social services from separating the girls - a scheme that will only work if no one knows they are living on their own.

     Fiona approaches their grouchy and indifferent neighbor Al and asks if he will pretend to be their live-in legal guardian should papers need to be signed or if anyone comes snooping around. He reluctantly agrees, under the condition that they bring him dinner every night. As weeks pass, Fiona takes on more and more adult responsibilities, while each of the younger girls finds their own special role in their atypical family. But even if things seem to be falling into place, Fiona can't help but worry that it is only a matter of time before they are caught. What she needs to do is find them a real guardian.


Pine Island Home by Polly Horvath was published by Penguin Random House in 2020. I read an e-version from my local public library.