The Penderwicks in Spring by Jeanne Birdsall
I fell out of my chair when I saw there was going to be a new Penderwick book. And that it would be about Batty and Ben. I had no idea it would turn out to be the most painful of all the books. I cried.
THIS POST HAS SPOILERS
This book is set a few years after the others. Rosalind is now in college, Jane is driving, and Skye is close to graduating. Batty is nearly eleven and has discovered she has an amazing voice. She decides she wants to take voice lessons and surprise her family by singing on her birthday. She doesn't want them to know, however, so she starts a dog walking business to earn her own money.
Her plans seem to be coming together, in spite of problems with a wild two-year-old sister who loves Ben, a house full of boys who love visiting Jane, Skye always busy with her math problems, and Rosalind dating someone who isn't Tommy. Batty feels like she can make it through anything though, so long as she has Ben and Nick who is coming home for a visit from the army.
But then she learns a secret. A secret which turns her life and everything she has always known upside down.
I LOVED this book, but then again, I LOVE the Penderwicks. Their family is considerably bigger in this book. With Mr. Penderwicks' marriage there comes a new baby girl, Lydia, which brings their family up to eight. Of course, this means something is always happening.
Batty is shyer in this book. But she still has some of the same endearing qualities which made her a favorite of mine from the first three books. And I simply loved her and Ben together. They were like an inseparable team, once together nothing could stop them. (Until a third of a way into the book and my heart was crushed by The Painful Thing.)
I loved how full and wild the house was. I loved the new Mrs. Penderwick and how calmly she took everything.
As I said though, this book is the saddest and most painful of the series so far. I cried when I got to The Painful Thing, and I cried on and off until the end. The end was beautiful and perfect, like a Penderwick should be. But then again it had to be, because of The Painful Thing.
Read it. Now