South of Superior

South of Superior

by Ellen Airgood

Arlene Almas (10/14/11): Ellen Airgood has created McAllister, a small, quiet town on the shore of Lake Superior in northern Michigan. Everyone in town knows each other, and although they may gossip about their neighbors, they will always pitch in to help if one of them is in trouble. Madeline enters the picture to take care of Arbutus, an elderly woman whose sister Gladys had a relationship with Madeline's grandfather. Madeline herself was raised by a loving woman who adopted her after her mother abandoned her. As the narrative progresses, Madeline becomes familiar with the inhabitants of McAllister, including a young single mother and her five-year-old son whose situation resonates painfully for Madeline due to memories of her own childhood. She gradually learns more about her family history, which has been mostly hidden from her. This is an affectionate yet realistic look at life in a small out-of-the-way town, with all its problems and flaws, and the sometimes eccentric folks who call it home.
Rating: ***

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