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The Cape Ann

The Cape Ann

4.3 7
by Faith Sullivan

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Lark Erhardt, the six-year-old narrator of The Cape Ann, and her fiercely independent mother dream of owning their own house; they have their hearts set on the Cape Ann, chosen from a house catalog. But when Lark’s father’s gambling threatens the down payment her mother has worked so hard to save, Lark’s mother takes matters into her own


Lark Erhardt, the six-year-old narrator of The Cape Ann, and her fiercely independent mother dream of owning their own house; they have their hearts set on the Cape Ann, chosen from a house catalog. But when Lark’s father’s gambling threatens the down payment her mother has worked so hard to save, Lark’s mother takes matters into her own indomitable hands. A disarmingly involving portrait of a family struggling to stay together through the Great Depression, The Cape Ann is an unforgettable story of life from a child’s-eye view.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
The Cape Ann is the first-person story of a child’s loss of innocence, of a growing awareness of just how complex life can be.”
Washington Post Book World

“The childish narrator is sweet and touching, without being sappy, and we believe her every recollection of life in a small Minnesota town at the end of the Depression.”
New York Times Book Review
“Sullivan has written a fascinating, original novel.”
Minneapolis Star Tribune

“Funny, sensible, at times achingly sad … Sullivan leads us into the heart of an American childhood.”—Chicago Tribune

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This is the kind of old-fashioned novel whose period flavor is as enjoyable as the story it tells. Set in the small town of Harvester, Minn., during the Depression, it is narrated by six-year-old Lark Ann Erhardt, who recounts a pivotal year in her life. Since Papa is a clerk on the railroad, spunky Mama Erhardt has converted an empty room in the depot into the family's living quarters while she saves money toward the house she and Lark dream of owning. Arlene Erhardt is a strict but loving mother who requires good manners from Lark but also engages in imaginative play with her daughter. Though she strives to be a dutiful wife, the Erhardt's marriage is incompatible: Papa, a bully and a compulsive gambler, keeps losing the slowly amassed nest-egg in poker games. When Papa beats Lark for biting her nails, she records her angry reactions in a secret notebook called her ``sin list,'' a tally of all the guilty thoughts she must remember to report on her First Communion. The sense of sin the nuns have instilled, combined with a typically childish misconception of how babies are born, involves Lark in an anguished situation when her aunt's baby dies at birth. Death, marital disharmony and the cruelty of some townspeople toward a brain-damaged veteran are some of the adult concerns Lark begins to understand, and finally she is forced to choose between her parents when a crisis moves Mama to action. Sullivan (Mrs. Demming and the Mythical Beast) succeeds in evoking a more innocent era, including such community events as the Knights of Columbus picnic and the Memorial Day parade. She paces her narrative with skill, and if Lark's perceptions are sometimes too precocious for her age, the reader remains involved in a bittersweet story. (May)
School Library Journal
YA The Cape Ann is the name on the plans of the house that Lark Ann Ehrhart and her mother plan to build some day. It is the place to which six-year-old Lark escapes in daydreams when her parents begin to argue, the home that her mother dreams offar from the rooms in the train depot where they live and Lark's father works. Ultimately it symbolizes escape from Harvester, Minn., and independence from the husband and father whose gambling repeatedly sabotages their dream. Lark narrates the adult events of Harvester's Catholic culture without always understanding them. Her point of view adds depth to the story, though occasionally it is more adult than a six year old's would be. Characters are fully colored; historical references firmly set the story in the Depression and beyond. Lark's perceptions, her changes and those of the characters around her will relate to those YAs, who will enjoy Sullivan's flowing and well-crafted story. Sally Bates, Houston Pub . Lib .

Product Details

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Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.80(d)

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Meet the Author

Faith Sullivan was born and raised in southern Minnesota.  Married to drama critic Dan Sullivan, she lived twenty-some years in New York and Los Angeles, returning frequently to Minnesota to keep her roots firmly planted in the prairie.  Since 1989 she has lived in Minneapolis.

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The Cape Ann 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked up this book on reccomendation from another book I looked up on B&N. If you like a good story, well told -- this one is for you! The story revolves around several characters in a small Minnesota town and, although it takes place in the depression years, so much of it seemed familiar with things that happened when I was growing up in the 50's. The things they cooked, the feelings of family as different 'disgraces' come along all had a familiar ring. I was sad to see the book end and hope Ms. Sullivan will write a sequel sometime to let us know about Lark, her parents and her Aunt Betty. I will definately purchase more books by this author!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Joyce More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books and authors I have ever read. It's a classic!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is such a cliche, but I did not want this book to end. The author HAS written a couple of sequels/spinoffs to this book but, be warned, they are disappointing. Your best bet is to re-read the original. Lark Ann and her mother, Arlene Erhardt, will live in your heart and imagination and you will sigh and cheer from cover to cover!
Guest More than 1 year ago
What a lovely book. The characters are so real; I truly miss them. Our 8 year old narrator, Lark, is such a beguiling and captivating little girl with, at once, charmingly child-like observations and explanations and sophisticated observations and muses. The imagery in this book is so real, I think I could draw the town out on paper, and I would recognize the characters if I were to see them on the street. A really wonderful read. I beg the author to write a continuation!