Friday, October 16, 2020

Freeform Friday: The Parker Inheritance - Varian Johnson

Summary: The letter waits in a book, in a box, in an attic, in an old house in Lambert, South Carolina. It's waiting for Candice Miller.

When Candice finds the letter, she isn't sure she should read it. It's addressed to her grandmother, after all, who left Lambert in a cloud of shame. But the letter describes a young woman named Siobhan Washington. An injustice that happened decades ago. A mystery enfolding the letter-writer. And the fortune that awaits the person who solves the puzzle. Grandma tried and failed. But now Candice has another chance.

So with the help of Brandon Jones, the quiet boy across the street, she begins to decipher the clues in the letter. The challenge will lead them deep into Lambert's history, full of ugly deeds, forgotten heroes, and one great love; and deeper into their own families, with their own unspoken secrets. Can they find the fortune and fulfill the letter's promise before the summer ends? (summary and picture from

My Review: Okay, this book was such a fun adventure.  It was a history mystery, intertwining the present with the past.

I loved the friendship between Candice and Brandon.  The way Candice went from 'Ugh I don't want to play with this boy who is a year younger than me,' to defending him wholeheartedly.  And you can't help but love sweet, bookish Brandon and his kind, quiet drive to help Candice with her mystery.  Their friendship was real and authentic, and I loved watching them unravel the past together.  They felt like real kids, and they felt like real friends.

Candice's drive to prove that her grandmother wasn't crazy was also heartfelt.  She so desperately wants to prove that this woman she loved can be redeemed, that, yes, she made a mistake, but if Candice can solve this mystery, she can prove the woman was on the right track and clear her name.

The way that the history is twined into the story is also well done. Johnson weaves the stories of the characters Big Dub, Siobhan, Reggie, and others from the past cleverly throughout the book which kept me wanting to know more, wanting to solve the mystery.  It was also good to see history displayed the way it was, the race relations, the bigotry and prejudice that unfortunately are still very prevalent today, and which are seen in Candice, Brandon, and other character's experiences in the modern day.

While they work to unravel secrets of the past, Candice and Brandon are also dealing with secrets of their own, whether within their families, or within themselves.  Uncovering these secrets, along with those of the past, help them to grow into better people so that they can make a difference. 

My Rating: 4 Stars

For the sensitive reader: Some minor language, plus there is an incident where a character is severely beaten (from the past), and there are some bully characters that pester Candice and Brandon. 

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