by Sandra O. Ferraro

"As I think about life’s experiences, and the passing of time, it is hope that always gets us through…"

Author Ferraro refers to this short novel as a “fictionalized account of true events.” Writing in the first-person voice of Ella, she begins by detailing a meeting with her doctor. There, she learns that she is in the early stages of multiple sclerosis. Retreating to her parents’ home for solace, she asks to rest for a bit. Alone, she finds a book with something inside it that begins a journey of self-reflection into her past. It is a journey that will take her and readers into another time in America—a time when things seemed to move more slowly, more deliberately, but no less relentlessly.

Ella’s story becomes a chronicle of her youth. She recounts growing up in a small town before and during World War II. Her’s is a tale of family, as she brings to life her grandparents, mother, father, and particularly her little sister Lily, who comes to be called Goldy. Their life together is recounted nostalgically, with remembrances of great joy and immense sorrow. Events unfold episodically, such as the wrenching of Ella’s father from the family to serve in the military, time spent with her loving grandfather and her often stern grandmother, and, most devastatingly, the tragic illnesses endured by Goldy.

Ferraro’s writing is simple and straightforward. Her prose is without artifice and devoid of linguistic flourishes made purely for effect. Her choice of words seems honest and heartfelt. The pace is neither rushed nor plodding. She lets her story tell itself as one friend might confide in another. By so doing, the sincerity and poignancy of these experiences come across clearly.

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