If you are looking for a fun, loving book to read that is full of memories we all in our 50's and 60's will definitely remember, you must read, "When We Last Spoke." This book was so hard to put down, I loved every page. I am a grandmother raising 3 grandchildren so this book had me touching base with the characters and also learning from their story.
The book is about 2 sisters, as different as night and day, but the love they have for each other is very obvious. The year is 1967 and Juliet and Evangeline Cranbourne are dropped off on a Texas farm by their selfish, Broadway loving, want- to- be star, mom. Their dad has just been killed in the Vietnam war and the girls have been sent by their mom to live with their dad's mom and dad - Walt and Judy Cranbourne.
Ruby and Walt are desperately missing their dead son and they welcome the girls as a blessing from God. Soon after the girls arrive and begin to settle in, along comes their great- grandmother, the eccentric Itasca. Itasca has dementia and she dresses up as women from the past, such as Eleanor Roosevelt and others,
The girls grow up as Juliet being nicknamed Squirrel and Evangeline being Rabbit, Walt gives the girls these names, Evangeline is Walt's shadow and he teaches her all about farming. Juliet is Ruby's shadow. Ruby teacher Juliet to cook and how to be a lady. Both girls learn about God, manners and how to live a good life. Walt was full of knowledge just like this : As for stargazing, “You’ve got to look real close. Pay attention to what’s around you in this life. You’re liable to miss something important if you don’t."
There are several great chapters in the girls life such as when they believe they see their grandfather kissing and hugging the local flashy girl named Selma who runs the town's main department store. It turns out to be her boyfriend and the other time it was Walt giving Selma a package to send to Juliet and Evangeline with gifts inside and a letter that they believed was from their mom, when all along Walt and Ruby were the ones sending it. Juliet finds out the truth, but decides not to tell Evangeline who keeps hoping their mom is coming back.
There was the time they thought Ruby would die because she fell and cut her head open and she was in a coma for awhile.
Ruby loved Elvis Presley and she always played his gospel records. Ruby even owned a Thunderbird, which she named Elvis, because she thought he sent it to her. Everyone thought this was true until after her death, Juliet and Evangeline find the actual title for the car and the bill of sales bought by her loving husband Walt. They never knew if Ruby found this out, but it is doubtful.
When the book begins the girls are grown. Juliet still lives in Walt and Ruby's house in Fireside, Texas and Evangeline has moved off and is mad at Juliet because she kept the secret about the packages really being from Walt and Ruby instead of their mom. But, Juliet needs Evangeline to return home to help her choose the headstones for the graves of Walt and Ruby. Ruby had passed away and quickly behind her Walt passed too. Juliet hopes this trip back home will fix the sisters and bring them together again.
There are so many little tales in this book that show the character of the people it involves. Walt was a loving husband who devoted his life to his wife. Ruby was a perfect mom and grandmother and she missed her son terribly and the girls learn how to act in life through Ruby's wonderful ways. Itsaca taught the girls about how hard it was to raise 2 boys on her own because her husband had died at an early age. The dementia made her do funny things and sometimes the girls were scared of her ways. Selma ends up being a life long friend to Juliet and Evangeline and she still has some hippie in her even in her 70;s. Life and the people of Fireside make the girls the best life they could ever want.
When the book ends, Evangeline has forgiven Juliet knowing she only kept the secret about the packages from her so she wouldn't be hurt. Both girls have 2 new male friends in their lives and things are looking up. Walt and Ruby Cranbourne had been amazing parents to their son, amazing grandparents to the girls, and an amazing couple who showed everyone what true love really was.
Oh, how simple life was back then, it was a time of honesty, manners, respect and love for your neighbor with love for your family being the best love of all.
I cant wait for my readers to buy this book. It is so simple and kind. (There are a few curse words, but nothing bad) You can purchase this book from Amazon.com for only $11.38
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