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The Five O'Clock Cake, set in Anderson Valley in Northern California, depicts the life of a pioneer family in the late l920s with humor and tragic irony. It is told from multiple points of view. The characters speak in a country vernacular. Gramma Bess is the matriarch owner of Sorenson Hills, a ranch with orchards of apple trees, rolling hills, and a road that leads to the river. George is Gramma Bess's only son, who takes over management of the ranch. When he is forty, he brings home a young Indian girl, Kittijo, from a hunting trip and marries her. Gramma Bess moves George out of the mansion, so he builds a cabin for himself and Kittijo outside the fence that surrounds the mansion and faces the bunkhouse. The bunkhouse is where the young ranch hand Duff lives. Each night, while occupants of the houses sleep, Kittijo and Duff slip out for moonlight rendezvous.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I've never read a book like this one. Nothing remotely similar comes to mind. My compliments to Ms. Bloyd. The Five O'Clock Cake was intoxicating and irresistible. I could not turn these pages fast enough. Set in Anderson Valley of the 1920s, Gramma Bess lives with one foot in a blossoming modern era and the other firmly planted in the past. She rocks and crochets, reminiscing about her youth, tippling wine to calm her nerves and holding court in her mansion as family and friends pass through her world. Bess is a memorable character. She still rules her kingdom, and anyone who thinks otherwise is sadly mistaken. Twenty years have passed, but she's never accepted that her forty year old son George married a fifteen year old Indian girl named Kittijo. George is a good son and husband who works hard and seems rather dull to his young wife. Gramma Bess suspects that Kittijo finds passion in the arms of a hired man, Duff, and doesn't mind voicing that suspicion to everyone she knows. From the beautiful valley Bess calls home, to the quirky folks who populate her life, this book is choice. Rich with humor and subtle nuances of character development, this book is one of a kind. Each chapter adds tasty details to the lives and characters as Gramma Bess, Kittijo, George, and Duff progress towards the satisfying climax of this tale. If you want something different, or are tired of the same old familiar fare, I recommend you read The Five O'Clock Cake.
Joan Sawyer Bloyd's novel The Five O'Clock Cake depicts beautifully the Anderson Valley area of Northern California in the early 1900's. The setting and plot include impressive gothic elements--a lush mansion, secrets, moonlight, dreams, etc. The characters are facinating and memorable--not typical flat stereotypes, but unpredictable and irreverant. I found myself still thinking about the story days after completing it--playing with possible interpretations and wondering what happened in the characters' futures. I strongly recommend this book.