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Reviewed by Natalie Soine for Readers' Favorite
If I Could Live Again by C. Ingrid Deringer starts in 1925, spans three generations, and begins with the story of eight-year-old Margaret McLean who lives on a farm in Nova Scotia with her family. The little girl loves to write songs and rhymes about leaving her unhappy home and abusive father. Margaret enjoys spending time with her mentor, Aunt Beatrice, and loves going to school. Her teacher Mrs. Edna McDonald nurses the wounds on Margaret’s little body. Margaret’s father needs her to help on the farm and takes her out of school in grade six. Aunt Beatrice helps Margaret to complete her schooling and gives Margaret a diary in 1931 to record her life. Through determination and strength, Margaret makes her own way in life and does the things that she loves. Margaret’s spirit continues in her long line of descendants and benefactors as they all come to know and love her.
If I Could Live Again is such an inspiration to young and old, to never give up on your dreams no matter what life throws at you. From the variety of characters and their personalities to the descriptive scenes, this story keeps the reader enthralled from start to finish, 1925 to 2015. Margaret is a hard-working, strong-willed woman, her mother on the other hand is the exact opposite and obeys her abusive husband. Aunt Bea is much like Margaret but older and wiser, which shows through in Margaret’s decisions. The vivid descriptions of life on the farm and suburban houses bring the story to life. The story is fast-moving and there are some surprising twists and turns as Sarah discovers when going through her parents’ belongings. I mostly enjoyed the way C. Ingrid Deringer binds the characters together over the period of almost 100 years, reminding the reader how important family and friends are to all of us.