Monday, August 11, 2014


I was delighted to get my hands on an advance copy of Darlene Beck Jacobson's WHEELS OF CHANGE.

For those of you who haven't yet heard of this MG, the jacket copy:

"Racial intolerance, social change, and sweeping progress make 1908 Washington, D.C., a turbulent place to grow up in for 12-year-old Emily Soper. For Emily, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic, and she's more at home hearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer than trying to conform to the proper expectations of young ladies. When Papa’s livelihood is threatened by racist neighbors and horsepower of a different sort, Emily faces changes she'd never imagined. Finding courage and resolve she didn't know she had, Emily strives to save Papa’s business, even if it means going all the way to the White House."

I love a good historical read, and this one hauled me in from the very beginning.  I especially relished the sensory details in the opening pages.  I also really enjoyed the family dynamics, and the smaller moments really sparkled in the pages (in one of my favorite scenes, Emily's mother helps her hang a horseshoe for luck).  Jacobson smartly juxtaposes the changes in young Emily's personal life (she's slowly leaving behind childhood and making steps toward becoming a young woman) with larger changes in the outside world (racial and gender upheaval as well as technological advancements).  Emily can't keep the demands of turn-of-the-twentieth century womanhood at bay, nor can she keep the world from driving automobiles and abandoning her father's glorious carriages.  But the reader will absolutely be glad that Jacobson takes us back to revisit this moment in time.  A lovely tribute to Jacobson's family (text at the end indicates that the book is partly based on family history).  Highly recommended.


Side note: Jacobson includes some mouth-watering recipes at the end of the novel.  Mama's Peach Pie sounds especially delightful, if you happen to be a baker.  Every time I try my own hand at baking, I wind up opening the oven door, cocking my head to the side, and saying, "Huh.  Wonder why that happened."  These recipes look good enough for me to give baking another whirl, and that's saying something, too...


  1. Thanks for the lovely review of WHEELS OF CHANGE Holly. I really appreciate your enthusiasm and support. Please let me know how your pie or gingerbread turns out!

    1. Oy. I bet it's not going to be nearly as enjoyable as the book! :)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...