by Anne Rivers Siddons
Harper Collins, 263 pp., $25.00
The year 1961 was eons ago to many, and like yesterday to others still young enough to have viable memories; but, whether you're old or young, Ms. Siddons will make it here-and-now alive for you. A sleepy Georgia town steeped in the scent of honeysuckle and the aroma of chicken frying is our setting. That comfort zone is soon established where the reader hurries to hide away with the book and become a part of its happenings.
Peyton McKenzie is 12 years old, that magical age that combines innocence and ageless wisdom in a delicious olio. We watch and somehow participate in her growing up, aided and abetted by her dashing cousin, Nora, who arrives on the scene like a UFO in her pink Thunderbird convertible. The stuffy community of Lytton is consumed with gossip over back fences, diner counters and parlor teas.
A movie-star cowboy comes home to Lytton and is instantly smitten with Nora, and things become entwined in smoke and moonlight. Big secrets are revealed, shocking then, intriguing now. We are reminded that Cuba was not off-limits in this time warp, and Nora's experiences there make for fascinating tales of that island, its music, its exotic background.
A vital element in this book is contrast, that quality which always provides excitement, and here we have it when slow, smooth little Lytton, Ga., finds catapulted into its midst the fiery Nora, who's about as volatile as a lift-off at the Kennedy Space Center. We can identify with those who see her as outrageous and pretty unacceptable; then again, we find ourselves on the side of the angels who think she's great fun and just what a backward-looking little town needs.
We are there for a sit-in demonstration at a lunch counter, struck by the courage of these youngsters and how their burning belief in their cause made all the difference. Peyton outgrows her former back-up team, "The Loser's Club," but it's a natural progression, a moving on stage of life.
"Moving on" sums up "Nora, Nora." It's as if all the people in Lytton were waiting for her and the electric events of the '60s to shake things up and put them in motion. It's always exciting to join in a movement; this one is a delightful journey.
"Nora, Nora" is available at Dockside Bookshop at Havensight Mall. To check out other Dockside favorites click here.
NOVEL CAPTURES '61 AS A TIME FOR MOVING ON
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