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South of superior by Ellen Airgood
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South of superior (edition 2011)

by Ellen Airgood

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2314550,068 (3.69)13
Member:jneedham
Title:South of superior
Authors:Ellen Airgood
Info:New York : Riverhead Books, 2011.
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:None

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South of Superior by Ellen Airgood

  1. 10
    Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani (tangledthread)
    tangledthread: The books are very similar in theme and format. Big Stone Gap takes place in the remote southwestern mountains of Virginia.
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  MrsDoglvrs | Apr 24, 2016 |
Madeline Stone receives a letter from her late grandfather’s girlfriend Gladys offering her a job as a caregiver. She is at loose ends since her surrogate mother, Emily, passed away. Madeline had been abandoned in Chicago as a toddler and Emily had taken her in and raised her as her own daughter. But Madeline has always felt alone and unwanted because her own grandfather, Joe, turned his back on his daughter and granddaughter after they left town. Gladys, however, has tried to stay in touch and knows that Madeline cared for Emily through her long battle with cancer. Now Gladys and her sister need someone to help them as Arbutus recovers from a fall. In a spur of the moment decision Madeline quits her waitressing job, breaks her engagement to Richard, packs her meager belongings, and heads five hundred miles north to a small town on the shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, “to maybe fix what was broken in her, if anything could.”

If that paragraph sounds incoherent and vague, well … that’s how I felt about this entire book. I’m struggling with what to say about it. It’s not terrible, but it’s far from good.

The dust jacket promises: A rich debut novel … [that] celebrates taking joy in the simple things, and the deep reward that comes from caring for others. The characters and the setting are so real and heart-felt that you will be drawn immediately into their world… I didn’t get any sense of joy or deep reward. As for the characters – I got really tired of the irascible Gladys, the sweet Arbutus, the confused Madeline, the stoic Paul, etc.

I heard about this book from a website I frequently use for ideas on what to read next. I like books that deal with personal journeys. I knew this wouldn’t be great literature but was hoping to find a heart-warming story. I was disappointed. If it hadn’t fulfilled a challenge, I would not have finished it.
( )
  BookConcierge | Jan 13, 2016 |
A most impressive debut novel by Michigan author, Ellen Airgood. Her characters are conflicted yet full of heart and for the most part, each holds a zeal for life. Living in Michigan's Upper Peninsula is truly a world apart and provides a hard-scrabbled existence not fit for the squeamish. But together as a community, everyone helps another through to see the next day. This is a beautiful story of history, roots and redemption which so well captures the pioneering spirit of those who choose to live beyond "the Bridge" along the southern shore of Lake Superior.

Synopsis:
When Madeline Stone walks away from Chicago and moves five hundred miles north to the coast of Lake Superior, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, she isn't prepared for how much her life will change.

Charged with caring for an aging family friend, Madeline finds herself in the middle of beautiful nowhere with Gladys and Arbutus, two octogenarian sisters-one sharp and stubborn, the other sweeter than sunshine. As Madeline begins to experience the ways of the small, tight-knit town, she is drawn into the lives and dramas of its residents. It's a place where times are tough and debts run deep, but friendship, community, and compassion run deeper. As the story hurtles along-featuring a lost child, a dashed love, a car accident, a wedding, a fire, and a romantic reunion-Gladys, Arbutus, and the rest of the town teach Madeline more about life, love, and goodwill than she's learned in a lifetime.

A heartwarming novel, South of Superior explores the deep reward in caring for others, and shows how one who is poor in pocket can be rich in so many other ways, and how little it often takes to make someone happy. ( )
  KateBaxter | Nov 24, 2014 |
Have so enjoyed our travels into UP (almost starting to feel like Yoopers!) and read a couple books last year about life on Lake Superior. With no disloyalty to "Michigan Lake", there is a uniqueness to Superior, also and perhaps the "Iowa farmer" background I grew up with is just a tiny bit similar to a harder lifestyle in Upper Michigan along the Lake.
Not an exciting read, rather an unfolding of the people - - who survive and help each other here and 'accept' that which can't always be controlled.
I enjoyed it. ( )
  CasaBooks | Apr 28, 2013 |
I thought this would be a good beach read as it was set in Michigan and found it much more thought provoking with memorable characters and a look at the life of simple people in a simple life always living on the edge and how much do we really need beyond loyal, loving friends and neighbors. ( )
  lindap69 | Apr 5, 2013 |
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The letter from Gladys Hansen was written in blue ink in an angular hand, on one sheet of plain white paper.
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Book description
When Madeline Stone walks away from her Chicago life and moves five hundred miles north to the coast of Lake Superior, in Michigan's Upper Peninsula, she isn't prepared for how much her life will change. Charged with caring for an aging family friend, Madeline finds herself in themiddle of beautiful nowhere with Gladys and Arbutus, two octogenarian sisters-one sharp and stubborn, the other sweeter than sunshine. As she is drawn into the dramas of the small, tight-knit town, Madeline learns that it's a place were times are tough and debts run deep, but where friendship, community, and compassion run deeper. A debut novel full of heart, South of Superior shows that there is a deep reward in caring for others, that one who is poor in pocket can be rich in many other ways, and that happiness often comes from the smallest gestures. (ARC)
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Moving to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to care for an aging family friend, Madeline Stone becomes involved in the lives of the small community and two octogenarian sisters who teach her valuable lessons about love and goodwill.

(summary from another edition)

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