Francesca of Lost Nation by Lucinda Sue Crosby – Book Review
Francesca of Lost Nation by Lucinda Sue Crosbyis set in the early 1940s post World War II in a small village in Iowa. It is the story of one adventurous summer which nine year old Sarah spent with her grandmother, Francesca. Francesca is a 59 year old feisty woman with ideas which are well ahead of her time and Sarah is a precocious little child wise beyond her years. The two share an unusually close relationship. When Sarah’s parents set sail on a cruise to Paris, Francesca and Sarah have the farm all to themselves. That is when all their adventures begin and that summer becomes for both Sarah and Francesca the most memorable summer of their lives. Learning to drive a truck, finding a lost mutt, an encounter with an arsonist, a strange but beguiling man called Matt Mosley who comes to live on their farm and ends up charming both Sarah and her Grandmother are only some of the things that happen on Main House and Home Farm that summer.
Francesca of Lost Nation is a story on many different levels. It is a coming of age story. It is a story about relationships between different people where barriers of age and conformity are broken down. Francesca learns to let go of her past and falls in love with a man far younger than herself. Lucinda Sue Crosby writing from the perspective of a nine year old child deals with these relationships with remarkable sensitivity. When Matt comes into their lives, little Sarah remarks with a foresight far beyond her years, ‘ …something closed –down in Francesca began to bloom again” as she realises that her beloved grandmother has found true love with a man that they had both initially disliked so much. The nine year old girl is confused and a little sad. She wonders whether she is losing her grandmother’s affections to a stranger who has come to live on their farm. “ Between Matt, car racing and house-cleaning, my grandmother had little private time left for me which hit me hard.”
This is a book which is hard to put down. It is very well written with a sensitivity which will warm your heart. Funny at times and filled with little pearls of everyday wisdom, this book is as much a romantic thriller as it is a perfect little capsule of a time gone by. I would recommend this book to many and look forward to more books from Lucinda Sue Crosby.