Friday, October 3, 2014

Review: The Undertaking of Tess by Lesley Kagen

The Undertaking of Tess

The Undertaking of Tess
Lesley Kagen
Print Length: 118 pages
Publisher: SparkPress
Release Date: July 24, 2014
Source: Publisher

During the summer of 1959, ten-year-old Theresa “Tessie” Finley has her work cut out for her. Not only is she attempting to come to grips with the devastating loss and guilt she feels after she witnessed her father’s drowning, but her kid sister, Birdie, refuses to believe that their beloved Daddy is really gone. Tessie needs to make sure that she does before their Mom gets wind of how much “weirder” her sister’s getting. Stronger, and more down to Earth than ethereal Birdie, she’s always watched over her sister, so it’s only natural for her to come up with a plan that she jots down on one of her never-ending TO-DO LISTS. If Tessie can’t achieve her goals, she’s desperately worried that the beautiful, but self-occupied Louise, might send emotionally fragile Birdie to the county insane asylum.

Her daddy always told her, “A Finley never throws in the towel,” so more than anything Tess wants to make him proud, but despite her resourcefulness and grit, she’s smart enough to know that the odds are stacked against her and her time is running out.

Heartbreaking, funny, nostalgic, and spiritually uplifting, you’ll cheer the Finley sisters on from the first page to the last of this charming novella that sets the stage for the upcoming novel, The Resurrection of Tess Blessing.
I know there are a lot of people out there that get annoyed by novellas, I just happen to not be one of them. I love that there are authors out there that can completely enrapture me in a little over 100 pages and leave me feeling satisfied. Now, after reading The Undertaking of Tess, I know that Lesley Kagen is one of those authors.
When I was twelve I ended up taking care of my little sister for hours at a time, so when I started TUOT I was pulled into the story completely as it is told through Tess’ ten year old voice. Tess goes through a very traumatic experience when she witnesses her father drown. Now she has to figure out a way to keep her family together as her mother has never been able to deal with her “different” sister, Birdie.
Kegan wrote this story and its characters in such a way that I honestly felt every emotion as if it was being pushed to me through the pages. I laughed out loud, and yes, even shed some tears throughout this story.
If you enjoy being pulled into a story to the point that you come out feeling that you have an understanding of the characters lives, read The Undertaking of Tess. I don’t think you will be disappointed, and as I said at the beginning of my review, this is a novella, so an afternoon is all you need.  
rating 5 of 5   

Other books in this series
The Resurrection of Tess Blessing
Cover will take you to Goodreads page.
Release Date: December 9, 2014

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