Sunday, July 23, 2006

A Tangled Web

Lucy Maud Montgomery
Fiction, Young Adult

The Darks and the Penhallows have intermarried so long that they are all but one clan. That clan has an undisputed leader - Aunt Becky, the crotchety old lady with a sharp tongue and a photographic memory of all the embarrasing moments that the Darks and Penhallows would rather forget. She calls them all together to give away her posessions, including the heirloom everyone longs for, the (truth be told) rather ugly jug of long-dead Helen Dark. Her snarky comments and ability to give each person the object of least desire draws out the tension, until she announces that the jug will not be given away for another year, with a minor member of the clan in charge of the envelope of instructions.

The next year is filled with hilarious undergoings, as people change their habits in order to compete for the jug, a competition for which no one knows the rules. Long-term bachelors decide to get married; foul-mouthed men swear off swearing; engagements are made, broken, and stolen - and all because of the jug. And, of course, in trrue Montgomery fashion, those who deserve happiness end up with it and those who do not are left out in the cold. And you, too, will be waiting to hear the fate of the jug.


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