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Hungry Spirits

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Alice Duncan

This enjoyable series deserves to be much better known. It takes place in Pasadena in the early 1920s. WWI has had an immense impact on the Gumm-Majesty family. Billy Majesty returned from the war with wounds related to being both shot and exposed to … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Alice Duncan
Publisher: Five Star
1 review about Hungry Spirits

Delightul mystery and history and slice of life

  • Aug 27, 2010
In Hungry Spirits, set in 1920s Pasadena, Daisy Gumm Majesty knows how to make ends meet, for herself and her fractured family. Husband Billy, gassed in the war, is in a wheelchair struggling to breathe. Aunt Vi cooks beef wellington for the rich and famous while Daisy learns to scramble an egg. White bread, and the effective use of stale breadcrumbs, unites the students of a Salvation Army cooking class. And Daisy, who's still not sure about those eggs, becomes their teacher.

I've seen the Pasadena of today, and I loved imagining how it was through author Alice Duncan's words. I grew up knowing the consequences of war in British families, but Alice Duncan brings those consequences to life on this side of the Atlantic too. I loved Daisy's Methodist roots (yeah, I have some too). And I loved her concern for people, her ability to set aside her own doubts (about Germans) and her neighbors' (about "communing with spirits") in order to get the job done.

Daisy doesn't in fact commune with spirits. She reads the cards because it earns money and keeps the listener satisfied. She channels her imaginary spirit for the same reasons. She makes her own clothes, looks and acts her part in public, and in private is just a really nice young woman holding her own in a complicated world. If that world's complications happen to include cooking classes and car chases, well so be it.

Hungry Spirits is definitely a fun and enjoyable little slice of life, with mystery and history entwined, and a pleasing humanity. I'll be looking out for more of this series to add to my to-read list.

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