Sunday, September 9, 2012

Leaves by Michael Baron

Leaves. Michael Baron. The Story Plant. September 2012. 352 pages. ISBN #: 9780984190546.

The "Sugar Maple Inn" is having its last Halloween party.  The original owners have died; but although the adult children are planning to sell the bed and breakfast inn in this lovely Connecticut town, they are determined to have one last party that has always been a family and town tradition. But troubles beset each family member and it seems like it will take divine intervention or something magical to make it all come together!

This is a unique story in that each child has his or her own story that could be a stand alone, with high and low moments, as in all families, novel.  There is Deborah who is a bona fide chef for the inn and whose recipes and meals will make the reader's mouth salivate as these descriptions are exquisite.  But where is she to go after the inn is sold?  Should she start her own business?

And what's the story with the visceral animosity between Corinna and Tyler?  Tyler has been taking skilled photographs of the famous leaves of the area, an education in itself for those not familiar with various types and colors of autumn leaves, but his works are not selling so well any more.  What is his future?

The tension mounts as there are only three weeks left to prepare for this huge party, a tension heightened by personal and familial conflicts.  Yet through it all each character shares a nostalgic point of view, honestly portrayed with victories, disappointments, fights, and resolutions.  Add to that a poignant ending that will pull a tear from the hardest of hearts!

Leaves is plainly a lovely, lovely story that will be enjoyed by all readers.  Sometimes, potency is conveyed without a stick of dynamite because it is just so - like most of our lives - very real!  Grand job, Michael Baron!  Keep writing and thanks for the diverse characters you depict so well in all of your books!

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