A pleasant surprise--a book that isn't from any of my favorite genres, and I still really liked it! South of Superior is set in the fictional UP town of McAllaster, along Superior's shore. Knowing that the author lives in Grand Marais and runs the charming West Bay Diner gives the book more credibility and really reinforces the authenticity.
The premise of the story is a little far-fetched, that a Chicago woman would agree to come north to care for an older woman she never met and isn't related to, but I've known people to do stranger things with less reason. Once you get past that, the transplanted Madeline discovers the charms of small towns and gorgeous northern Michigan. Enter the characters!
Madeline meets Gladys and Arbutus, the women she will live with, before she leaves Chicago. Arbutus, or Butte, is a sweet, cheerful lady who needs someone with her to help her get up and down. Gladys invited Madeline to come up north, thinking it an opportunity to make up for the guilt of years when her companion, Joe, ignored his grandaughter Madeline. But Gladys is prickly. As Madeline settles in to McAllaster, she realizes that Gladys is not going to be chatty about the past and the family history. Ah, well.
Then there's Mary Feather, the local fishmonger, among many other things. She lives in a mashed-together cabin with no mod-cons or amenities and sells what she harvests from the wild. Old Emil lives in a stinky cabin with his dog and chops wood, mostly. The Bensons run the modern grocery and try to run off the locals by cutting off their credit. Randi had a baby at age 17, and now she leaves young Greyson wherever while she goes off to take care of something. Paul runs the local pizzeria and works in the prison kitchen mornings. They mostly care for each other, that shows. And everyone loves the Lake--the description of winter storms is worth the book, if nothing else. This book reinforces my wish to see Lake Superior in winter. What a nice new addition to Michigan books. ~Tessa J. Eger 4 out of 5 stars