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Julia Cloud, the oldest--and most responsible--child of her family, helped raise her four siblings due to their mother's long-time illness and father's death. After faithfully nursing two ill brothers (who died), she then cared for her invalid mother for many years. When Julia's mother passes on, her only surviving sibling Ellen fully expects--and nearly demands--that her spinster sister come live with her family. But to earn her keep, Julia must be their live-in housekeeper and babysitter for Ellen's four children. But Julia's college-age niece and nephew arrive unexpectedly from California and offer Aunt Cloudy Jewel a surprise opportunity she never expected in her wildest dreams.
I enjoyed this book very much and appreciate the time the people take to narrate these for us but this one was recorded so soft for most of the story that even with my speakers at 100% I was straining to hear all the chapters.
Wealthy orphaned brother and sister are about to enter college but want to live together off campus. Their guardian stipulates that a responsible adult must live with them, in that case, and they immediately think of the favorite aunt whom they haven't seen since they were quite young. The story that follows is charming and fun, as their lives change under the influence of the Godly woman. Old fashioned and wonderful.
I enjoyed a couple of GLH's other books including the Enchanted Barn despite their shortcomings - but here unfortunately the characters seem to be painted so naively as to be almost grotesquely ill-formed. I did not mind that the sermonising was much more central to the book than in the previous books of hers I'd read - but the unreal portrait of in effect a foster mum living with two teenage children was jarringly far from reality. I struggled with the moralising too - dancing or showing flesh caused massive consternation yet taking pot-shots at minor criminals with a revolver was apparently admirable. There is a real tragedy about the central character that seems to go beyond what the author intended. The pink and white house among the hemlocks seems aptly symbolic. It does give a window onto its time though - for instance the characters consider it generous to give the maid her own "speck" of a bathroom and they reflect that they won't have the problem of finding the maid's toothbrush left on the side of the bath which apparently was a known issue!
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