South of Superior

Madeline sighed, content for the moment to do nothing at all. The lake rolled into shore, the sun shone hot on the top of her head, and Greyson lounged heavy in her lap, a small parcel of person with whom she was inexorably connected. The flies buzzed, lazy and indolent, and time seemed suspended. McAllaster seemed ageless, infinite, eternal. It was a hard feeling to pin down with words, but it was a good feeling, a big feeling. from South of Superior, by Ellen Airgood

Life is not always so idyllic in McAllaster, Michigan. Madeline Stone finds the truth of that when she moves into this tiny community on Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. In fact, it’s a pretty hardscrabble existence for the folks who live there.  Madeline, still reeling from the death of her adopted mother, leaves her Chicago city-life behind and moves north to help care for an aging family friend. At the same time, she’s in search of some truths about her past – the mother who abandoned her and the grandfather who refused to keep her – both of whom had their roots in this community. To her amazement, she comes to love this funny little town and its quirky inhabitants, who all know and care about one another. And she discovers who she really is, in more ways than one.

If you know me at all, you’ll know this is just the kind of book I love. A book about community, about self-discovery, about overcoming fears and changing your life for the better. It’s a novel populated with funny, lovable characters, an interesting small town atmosphere, and best of all, it’s set in my home state. In fact, my father in law was born and raised in a small town in the UP which was probably a lot like McAllaster. The crusty characters in this book remind me of him, and their descriptions of life in this community help me understand a little more about him.

Ellen Airgood, author of South of Superior, obviously knows small town life.  She runs an old-fashioned diner in Grand Marais, Michigan, where she is proprietor, waitress, and full time baker. This is her first novel, and it’s charming, entertaining, and heart-warming. The only thing missing was being able to sit on the porch of a cottage beside the lake while I read it.  If an Up North vacation is in your future this summer, be sure and pack a copy of South of Superior in your suitcase.

Thanks to TLC Tours for the opportunity to read this book. Other stops on the tour are listed here.

South of Superior, by Ellen Airgood

published June 2011, by Riverhead Books, a member of the Penguin Group

384 pages * ISBN 978-I-59448-793-4

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8 thoughts on “South of Superior

  1. Becca,
    Thanks for sharing this review. I found the book at the library, picked it up after work yesterday, and I have almost finished it! I hated to put it down to go to be, so I sneaked in a few more pages this morning. I love the characters–they are so real–cantankerous and stubborn and sometimes blind to what is really going on–and lovable at the same time, just like real people. I look forward to reading more from this author.

  2. Pingback: Sunday Caught My Interest « Reflections from the Hinterland

  3. Pingback: South of Superior ~ Ellen Airgood « Iwriteinbooks's Blog

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