Susan Wittig Albert The Tale of Hawthorn House Reviews

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“The Tale of Hawthorn House ”


written by Harriet Klausner on 08/07/2007

The Tale of Hawthorn House
Susan Wittig Albert
Berkley, Sept 2007, $25.95, 336 pp.
ISBN: 9780425216552

Beatrix Potter loves her home in the Lake District village of Near Sawrey even though she can only get away from her family's London mansion for a few weekends at a time. Her parents expect her to take care of them in their old age and her mother wants her around all the time to cater to her whims. She is there for the summer fete and is very surprised to find a baby in a box with a scarab ring left by her door. She sees an elderly woman walking away and levitating over her wall.

She is unable to keep the baby because her brother is coming for a visit and then she has to go to London on business. She gives the baby to Dimity Woodcock who falls in love with baby Flora. Her brother captain Miles Woodcock is the justice of the peace for the Sawrey district and is determined to find the mother and hold her accountable for abandoning the baby. In the meantime, Major Christopher Kitteredge, who had a scandal attached to him, asks Dimity to marry him. Dimity doesn't want to go against her brother who opposes the relationship but she has loved the major all her life. She asks Beatrix for advice; and the lonely spinster is determined to help her friend as well as find out who the mother of baby Flora is so that the major and Dimity can adopt her.

Fans of Rita Mae Brown's Mrs. Murphy series will thoroughly enjoy this book in which the animals talk to each other in a totally hilarious subplot about who steals egg and sits on them for two months when they are supposed to hatch in twenty-eight days. This is a gentle whimsical tale with a nice dose of a mystery mixed into the cozy storyline.

Harriet Klausner

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