Title: The Magic of Ordinary Days
Author: Ann Howard Creel
Genre: Historical Fiction
Date Finished: 27 May 2009
My Rating: 4 Stars
Challenges: 100+, Library, New Author, WWII
There is a blurb from author Susan Vreeland on the cover of this book that describes The Magic of Ordinary Days as "highly satisfying." I'd have to say that is exactly how I felt about this book. This novel did something that few of the books I've read recently has done, it lingered with me. For several days after finishing the book I would think about it and pick it back up to read over certain sections or passages again.
At the height of World War II Livvy Dunne is a strong, intelligent and independent woman who has plans for the future. She is attending University and dreams of becoming an archaeologist and traveling to far off places like Egypt. When her mother falls ill Livvy takes time off from school to care for her and after her mother's subsequent death Livvy is left floundering and feeling lost. She begins a flirtation with a solider that changes the course of her life sending Livvy to live on the plains of Colorado married to a man she does not know. Forced by circumstances to give up her dreams and the life she knew Livvy is lonely and struggles quietly to accept her new life. Livvy's new home is not far from a Japanese internment camp and when some of the detainees come to her new husband's farm to help with the harvest Livvy finds some much needed friendship and solace in two young Japanese American sisters.
The Magic of Ordinary Days is a very quiet, almost gentle story that unfolds slowly but beautifully. I loved Creel's writing and her descriptions of the Colorado plains and of Livvy's internal struggles.
I really appreciated Livvy's character and how she wanted to do what was right and accept the consequences of her actions even if it was a struggle to do so.
I enjoyed the pacing at which the story was told, Livvy's full history not being revealed until more than half way through the novel.
I did feel that the big plot point at the end came up suddenly, even if it was forshadowed pretty well, and then the book ended quickly. But, that aside, I still really, really enjoyed this lovely novel.
Creel gives the reader a look at a slice of life on the home front during the war and the treatment of Japanese-Americans. A love story, sure, but also a story about trust, friendship and finding happiness (in the magic of ordinary days.)