Emmie of IndianapolisEmmie of Indianapolis by Kay Castaneda
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This well-written coming of age novel has it all. An interesting protagonist in Emmie, some great secondary characters and flawed characters in the form of Emmie’s parents. They may be flawed but not beyond redemption and that is one of the nice aspects of Castaneda’s skilful writing. The world in the 1960s is seen through the eyes of young Emmie.

Emmie of Indianapolis is a captivating story and unafraid to peek into the darker side of life. It also has dollops of sweetness in the right measure to counterbalance the dark episodes but avoids being too sickly.

There is a certain uplifting spirituality weaved into the author’s style interspersed with dark introspective passages. This first came to my notice when I read her submissions for the multi-author anthology Death Among Us.

Like many novels, I suspect (but don’t know) the story is part autobiographical. Emmie finds strength in her friends and family, and in her Catholic faith; best illustrated when on arriving in Indianapolis, Emmie looks for a Catholic Church and is pleased when she finally finds it. She uses her moral compass and convictions to serve others and senses a spiritual presence when stressed. In that context, it all makes sense Emmie yearns to become a nun or teacher as an adult.

A truly enjoyable read. I received an advance review copy of the book from the author but all opinions expressed are voluntary.

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