'Carried Away on Licorice Days': New Book Offers Some Homespun Wisdom from a Truly Great Grandma

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Young Owen is perplexed. He's been sent to the farm to live with his Grandma Beatrice and he's just about certain that it's because he no longer fits in at home, where his Mom and Dad have just brought home a new baby from the hospital -- his kid sister Sophie.

Baby Sophie has colic and Mom and Dad aren't sleeping. They've decided it's best for everyone if Owen spends some time with his Grandma. Accompanied by a blind goat, a three-legged dog who hogs the old sofa he sleeps on, and a bad-tempered pony named Spitfire -- animals rescued by Grandma because they had nowhere else to go -- Owen adjusts to life on the farm while longing for the familiarity of home.    

All of this is the central theme of "Carried Away on Licorice Days," a whimsical, good-humoured novel from the pen of Margaret J. McMaster, a writer whose earlier non-fiction work entitled "After All These Years" was shortlisted for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's 2006 Literary Award.

"Carried Away on Licorice Days" is centered in the lovely, southern British Columbia town of Chilliwack. The novel's tone captures the spirit of the small community perfectly and McMaster's light touch with the pen gives Licorice Days its considerable charm.

Grandma Beatrice is patient and loving with young Owen, answering his questions with more of her own, and imparting a certain kind of folksy wisdom as she does so. Then, right out of the blue, she wins the lottery and reaps its riches, but it doesn't change her one single bit. Everyone in town wants her to buy things with her new wealth, but Grandma Beatrice puts her foot down -- she refuses to buy anything she doesn't really need. She knows who she is and she's not about to change to suit anyone else.

All of this -- Grandma Beatrice's sense of herself, her wisdom, and her patience -- has a way of rubbing off on Owen and the book's other key characters. And what a delightful surprise for the reader when she decides how to spend her lottery winnings! That's the charm of "Carried Away on Licorice Days" and that's what makes McMaster's latest work so downright appealing.

"Carried Away on Licorice Days"
by Margaret J. McMaster

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