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The Queen of Sleepy Eye - eBook
B&H Fiction / 2008 / ePub
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En route to college in the summer of 1975, sensible seventeen-year-old Amy gets stuck in smalltown Colorado when the 1958 Bonneville Sports Coupe driven by her insufferable tiara-toting mom, Francie--former Queen of the Sleepy Eye, Minnesota, Corn Festival--surrenders to a mortally wounded transmission.
It doesn't take long to realize that thirty-three year-old Francie is out of money and in no hurry to let go of her daughter, so the two unpack indefinitely. Amy finds work at a funeral home, a place her unlikely Christian faith can work itself out among the town's young and old, geeks and jocks, hippies and clergy alike.
Trying not to judge her mom's serial boyfriend's escapades, Amy ends up in a tragic love triangle herself which gives both mother and daughter the chance to do some real growing up. But in a surprise twist, their road to healing still has many miles to go in 2008 as they travel back to Sleepy Eye in that old '58 coupe.
The Queen of Sleepy Eye is written with exquisite depth of character . . . a fantastic story. - Hannah Alexander, Author of the Hideaway series
Few stories are able to balance both the crushing cost of sin and the transforming power of grace. The Queen of Sleepy Eye succeeds brilliantly. The author invites us on a journey with complex characters so real that we cry when they fail and rejoice when they reveal brilliant glimpses of God at work in their hearts. Patti Hill crafts each word with beauty and artistry, enhancing this poignant tale of regret and redemption. - Sharon Hinck, Author of Symphony of Secrets and Renovating Becky Miller
This book captured me from the first page! In every way, its a keeperfrom the eloquent writing to the rich cast of characters that breathe life into this coming-of-age tale. But its more than just a story about growing up; its about life and loss, love and forgiveness, and discovering that there is more to the world than what we see. Youll love The Queen of Sleepy Eye! - Susan May Warren, Author of Taming Rafe
The Queen of Sleepy Eye by Patti Hill is a stand out book about the relationship between mother and daughter as well as faith of the heart instead of faith of the head. It's 1975, and Amy Montiero is finally breaking free from her mother Francie by going to college in California. But on the drive out there from Illinois, Francie gets sidetracked in the little town of Cordial, Colorado, and before Amy can say "Help!", she's working for the summer at a funeral home and trying to come up with another escape plan while Francie flirts her way through town.
Amy is a fantastically three dimensional character. She's firm in her faith, until she starts visiting a hippie community where a handsome man named Falcon plies his trade making stained glass windows. He challenges her notions of what Christianity means and awakens feelings Amy was certain she knew how to control. Amy lives her life believing that her faith puts her above everyone else. She tolerates her mother's frequent failings, she shakes her head in disgust at the rigidity at the old ladies in the local church, and takes on a hippie family and an elderly widow as charity projects. Cracks start to show in her facade when first her best friend from home commits a sin Amy can't forgive, then a good friend is killed, bringing Amy to discover sin in her own heart.
Hill writes Amy with compassion and humor. You can't help but love both her and Francie. The story is bookended with chapters about Amy and Francie 30 years later returning a stolen car. The two stories seem disconnected until Amy reaches out her hand in forgiveness and love to someone who least deserves it, offering up the grace she had learned so many years ago. Put this book on your must read list; it's a real winner! - Christy,http://christysbookblog.blogspot.com
Author Patti Hill has written a flashback coming of age contemporary novel primarily set in a tiny town in Colorado back in the 1975. Amy and her mom Maria end up in Cordial Colorado after the transmission of their classic 1958 Pontiac Bonnieville dies. The ladies are relocating from Minnesota to California, where Amy has earned a scholarship to Westmont. The summer of 1975 turns out to be a fateful few months for both Amy and her mother. A time of growth and change.
Honestly, I found Maria hard going. I had an intense and visceral dislike of her character which made me reluctant to read The Queen of Sleepy Eye. I liked Amy and the people of Cordial, though, so I kept at it. And Im glad I did, because, really, this book is about acceptance, making peace with yourself & your past, *ahem, looks into mirror* learning to be less judgemental, the enduring love of family. I remember my overly black and white view of people and the world when I was a teenager, I remember my viewpoint was similar Amys at a similar age.
I have struggled with what and how much to say about the plot because I prefer to leave much unsaid so that new readers have surprises waiting for them if they choose to buy or borrow this book. Maria was a teenage mother bringing up a daughter in a time when this was frowned upon much more than today. Amy is a teenager raised by a teenager. And Maria, unlike some young ladies come early to motherhood, Maria doesnt grow up as much as the reader might hope for. Amy pays a price for her mothers narcissism and immaturity and scheming. There are moments of insight into human behavior that reveal how much Ms. Hill is able to help us relate to her characters as real people. For example, I thought that Pastor Teds words during the little funeral service in the parlor were profound and authentic and touched my heart deeply. Then, too, Father Raymonds words to Amy regarding the mysterious face in the mirror made me smile in recognition.
As I mentioned above, I did have serious problems with Maria. I found Amy to be naive and smug and condescending in reference to sexual urges and her mother's attempts to prevent Amy from following in her footsteps. Teenage motherhood admittedly isn't the focus of the narrative, but the consequences of Amy's one sexual encounter can be found in many romances and I was disappointed that this was added into the book and then skimmed over. Even so, because the narrative focuses on other aspects of Amy and Maria's coming of age with such precision this is a minor issue.
I am so glad I finished The Queen of Sleepy Eye. Ms. Hill holds a mirror up to the reader and sometimes we arent always comfortable with what we see. Other times the images warm your heart and hold out hope and love. Ms. Hill has written a perceptive and touching book that may just help readers think twice. - Amanda M. Smoot, bookwormom.blogspot.com
Just in case you are looking for some good reading for Christmas, I wanted to pop on here with one more recommendation. I read this one over my Thanksgiving "break" and it was wonderful. (Even made me realize my family isn't quite as strange as I thought.) I wondered what the heck was going on for a while (she starts present day and then goes back to her teens and it threw me for a bit) but the more I read, the more wonderful the book was. It wasn't just some surface ditty. It was meaty and excellent. I highly, HIGHLY, recommend it. And in case you didn't notice, I don't say that often. - http://survivingthechaos.blogspot.com/2008/12/queen-of-sleepy-eye-by-patti-hill.html
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