by Olive Ann Burns.
Quickie recap: Will Tweedy is 14 years old when his grandmother suddenly takes ill and dies. The town, Cold Sassy (circa 1906), and his parents, are scandalized when his grandfather quickly remarries to a young and "fashionable" woman - one who is so brazen as to clean the dead woman's house and wear a black dress to church! But Will adores his grandfather and finds that he can't quite find it in his heart to hate this woman as propriety seems to dictate.
Quickie review: I was bowled over by this book. Although the protagonist is male, Cold Sassy Tree has multi-dimensional, strong, interesting female characters who hold their own even in 1906. The family dynamics are intricate, the human relationships are suitably complex, and the author manages to be both humourous and poignant at the same time with a deft though light touch that is all too rare. Every single turn of the page, for me, was both an occasion for celebration and for mourning - for every word I greedily devoured, I knew I was that much closer to reaching the final one.
Quickie recommendation: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a rave!