It’s been a weekend full of Penderwicks for me, and rather than write a separate post about each one, I’ll review them all here.
In The Penderwicks on Gardam Street, the widower Mr. Penderwick finally begins dating again after his wife’s death five years prior. Mind you, he’s not too keen on the idea, and only agrees to it after his sister Claire insists that he goes on four different dates, at which point she’ll cease hounding him about the matter. Afraid that an evil stepmother might be coming down the pike, the Penderwick sisters try to set their father up with the worst possible selection of dates, hoping he’ll run for the hills and never want to talk to the women again. The book explores the theme of deceit used for selfish or noble ends, and in the end the Penderwick family receives a new addition that brings happiness in the best possible way.
In The Penderwicks at Point Mouette, Skye, Jane, and Batty go on summer vacation with Aunt Claire, and Skye (taking on her responsibility as the Oldest Available Penderwick) nearly has a nervous breakdown as she tries to keep Batty safe and Jane free from romantic entanglements. The girls are joined by their friend Jeffrey from the first book, and surprises are in store for him as fate throws him into the path of someone from his past. This book explores the mixed emotions and confusion that comes in broken families and the pure joy that can be found in reunions.
In The Penderwicks in Spring, five more years have elapsed. Rosalind is away in college, having abandoned Tommy Geiger, the neighbor boy, for a black-leather-clad poser named Oliver. Teenagers Skye and Jane attract a coterie of male admirers to the house every evening, but the one admirer Skye has no patience for is her best friend Jeffrey. Tommy’s older brother Nick is home from war, and he’s determined to keep all the Penderwick girls out of trouble. Meanwhile, Batty is the ten-year-old heroine of this story, trying to overcome her shyness enough to earn money to pay for music lessons. But how will she spend time with her music mentor, Jeffrey, if Skye keeps forbidding him to visit? This book was a real tear-jerker, exploring the psychological effects a family member’s death can have on a child. The Little Women-esque threads established in the first book blaze into full glory here, leaving one to wonder just which sister will end up with Jeffrey/Laurie in the final book of the series?