The Year The Swallows Came Early

by Kathryn Fitzmaurice
Publisher: The Bowens Press (Harper Collins), 2009
Number of pages: 271

What’s worse than having a mother who checks her horoscope every day in order to plan her life? A father who steals from you. Such is Groovy Robinson’s life, told through her eyes in a poignant and beautiful story about what it means to be thirteen. About what it means to have flawed parents.

The story opens with Groovy and her Daddy walking to town when Officer Miguel stops them. He arrests her father then and there, and takes him to jail, and we’re as suprised as Grovvy is with this sudden and unexpected event.

When she tells her mother, the beauty parlor owner and stylist, her mother calmly says, “I know. I was the one who called the police.”

We sort through Groovy’s life with her, as she develops her deepest desire to become a cook, as she manages the pain of an inheritance lost, a father in jail, a mother who in many ways is superficial. And yet, the story reaches a beautiful conclusion; one of hope and redemption.

In several ways, this new novel reminded me of Sharon Creech’s Walk Two Moon, where the strong female heroine must face incrediable disappointment and loss in the process of growing up. Ultimately, however, there is joy at the end of the journey.


Tomorrow, we’ll have a brief interview with the lovely Kathryn herself.

Other tour stops can be found here:
A Christian Worldview of Fiction, All About Children’s Books, Becky’s Book Reviews, Booking Mama, Cafe of Dreams, Fireside Musings, Homeschool Buzz, Hyperbole, KidzBookBuzz.com, Looking Glass Reviews, Maw Books Blog, Never Jam Today, Novel Teen, Reading is My Superpower

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12 thoughts on “The Year The Swallows Came Early

  1. One of the things I loved about this book were the little details–the grandmother who was a writer, part of her legacy being a copy of Foundation, the way her friendships developed into something more. This one was just a joy to read.

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  2. A cool thing about the grandmother being a writer was that the author, Kathryn's, grandmother was a sci-fi writer in real life. So kathryn gave that grandmother to Groovy. I loved this book, too, and I'm glad you did, too, Meredith.And I'll be giving away a copy of the book from my blog this week, so if any of your readers want to stop by and enter…the more the merrier.

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  3. Madeleine, I'm glad you're coming back to check out more tomorrow!Becky, this was a great joy to read, wasn't it? I loved the strong presence of the grandmother, even though we didn't meet her per se.Sally, I was tossing around the idea of having a give-away, too, but then I'm not sure if I want to part with my copy! I'm glad you're offering readers the chance.Kathryn, the compliment is heartfelt. You deserve it.

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  4. I'm just curious what age group this is for? Also, Kathryn Fitzmaurice is a fabulous name. It reminds me of something Anne Shirley would name one of her early story characters.

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  5. Marya, I'm glad you agree. Don't you see the female heroines as being similar in their quest?Lexi, I should have said that it is for Young Adults. (Oops, what kind of blog tour stop am I missing important information like that?!) I like your comment about Kathryn's name being like something out of Anne of Green Gables. I can make the connection once you said it.

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  6. Ladytink, did you discover the other review on the blog tour? There are a bunch of us bloggers reviewing it for The Children's Book Blog Tour this month. It's fun to see what everyone has to say about it, as we all pick up different nuances.

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