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Reviewed by Kathryn Bennett for Readers' Favorite
I Miss My Pa The Most by Raymond Cook introduces us to Christopher and Shannon Rose O'Shea, a couple living in Marble, Colorado in 1898 with their young daughter, Emily. When one night a stovepipe fire engulfs their home, the family escape through an attic window. Sadly, Emily's father dies in the fire and her mother suffers serious burns. Life has a lot of ups and downs to throw at Emily and her mother, including a dangerous trip to Montana, finding out another family member is dead, and fearing what will happen to them if they don't find somewhere to go. Then comes a marriage of convenience. Can young Emily manage to find the healing she needs in her young heart?
The book itself is written very well and I found the pacing very enjoyable. It didn't move too fast or too slow and the way author Raymond Cook describes things makes the story come to life. Stories that make me feel like I could jump into the book and walk with the characters are my favorite kind. I can't say the judgmental ladies of the town Shannon and Emily find themselves in are my favorite characters, but I know I am looking at their actions with modern eyes. It was very scandalous in 1898 for an unmarried man and woman to live together. My heart went out to Emily for the entire book, her strength as such a young child to keep dealing with what was being thrown at her is amazing.
My first thought upon finishing this book was wow, what a journey and a series of events that would make most people give up. It seems like Shannon and young Emily just cannot catch a break at any turn. Their entire life literally goes up in smoke and as they try to move on, they keep being met by road blocks. The fact that somehow this mother and daughter manage to dig deep and not give up is very inspiring to me. We need more books with that kind of message. I don't want to give away the ending, but I highly recommend you read this book whether you like historical novels or not. This is a book that jumps out of the genre and becomes just a really good story.