"Any Bitter Thing" by Monica Wood

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Monica Wood never disappoints. Her easy prose serves her difficult issues extremely well, and while we may be lulled into a sense of security that we really know what's going on, Ms. Wood slyly pitches us a surprise curve at which we swing and miss every time.

Lizzy is orphaned very early in life and her uncle, a Catholic priest, takes over custody and raises the little girl while also tending to his parishoners. The resentful busybody of a housekeeper thinks she sees something untoward, and Father Mike must go away and never see Lizzy again. One thing I really love about this book is that a child services counselor, in her determination to find something wrong, is one of the villainesses.

I think I prefer "My Only Story" among Ms. Wood's work; but as I say, Ms. Wood never disappoints. She deals with issues arising from family crises supremely well. Her characters, major and minor, are full, understandable, and well-shaded. She reliably rewards her readers, and I look forward to getting through all her work.
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