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The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Story of Surprising Second Chances    by Amy Dickinson order for
Mighty Queens of Freeville
by Amy Dickinson
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2010 (2009)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD

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* * *   Reviewed by Elizabeth Schulenburg

Amy Dickinson comes from a family of women. Men come and go - her mother, sisters, and aunts have been married and divorced, and when Amy's husband decides he is done with their marriage, he almost seems to insinuate that she shouldn't be surprised. 'In my family, the women tend to do the heavy lifting while the men - well, the men are nice and fine and they love us for a time. Then at some point, it seems that they tire of their indeterminate role in our lives, so they wage a campaign of passive resistance, and then they leave.' Thirty years old, newly divorced, and faced with raising her two-year-old daughter alone, Amy does what she always does - she goes home. In Amy's case, home is Freeville, New York, where her family has lived for over two hundred years. Home is a tiny, dilapidated house with a screen door that falls off the first time Amy tries to open it. Her job, her daughter's school, her high-society church might all be in Washington, DC, but Freeville is where Amy runs when she needs to feel safe.

In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy chronicles her life after divorce, as she tries to pick up the pieces of her shattered dreams. Amy feels woefully inadequate to raise her daughter alone, but as she soon discovers, single parenthood brings contentment she had not anticipated. As Amy navigates her new world, we join her in Sunday School classrooms, veterinarian's offices, and the job market. Despite her ups, and sometimes crashing downs, the one constant in Amy's life is the unconditional love and support from the wonderful women of her family in Freeville. 'The women of my family taught me what family is about. They helped me to pick up the pieces when my life fell apart, and we reassembled them together into something new.' As she reminisces about her childhood, Amy draws strength from the lessons she learned by watching her own mother struggle and survive.

The Mighty Queens of Freeville is a touching, heartfelt tribute to the strength of love and the bonds of family. Dickinson's writing style is light and engaging, and while she does at times lean on advice-column language, she is never preachy or dull. Readers will be left laughing, possibly crying, and hoping to drop by the Queen Diner for breakfast on Wednesday mornings. This book is highly recommended, and would make a great gift for a woman who has made an impact in your life.

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