Book review: 'Charlie's Girl' story of family importance

By Rosemarie Howard

For the Deseret News

Published: Saturday, July 28 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

"CHARLIE'S GIRL," Mary-Helen and Daniel Foxx, Bonneville Books, an imprint of Cedar Fort, Inc., $14.99, 149 pages (f)

“Charlie’s Girl,” co-authored by Mary-Helen and Daniel Foxx, is the tender story of a young girl’s search for family.

Orphaned when she was a toddler, 14-year-old Rosalind has spent most of her life in Arizona foster homes. She has finally been located by her father’s mother, Grace Matthews, and invited to live in the South Carolina home where her father, Charlie, grew up.

Grace hopes Rosalind will be like Charlie. She is disappointed to find that Rosalind is very much like her mother, Nellie, who was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Charlie joined his wife’s church. A staunch Presbyterian and doting mother to her only child, Grace resented and rejected Nellie from the day she and Charlie began dating.

When a large Mormon family moves into the neighborhood, some tension and prejudice against them emerge. But a friendship between Rosalind and Emily, one of the Mormons, blossoms. A school assignment involving family history nurtures the friendship and feeds Rosalind’s desire to find her roots. By the story’s end, Grace and Rosalind each learn important things about themselves, each other and family.

Set in the 1960s in the small southern town of Grayson, S.C., the story flows with the warmth of southern charm. The conversations feel natural and the characters are well-drawn and feel like neighbors — good and not so good.

In a comfortable way, the authors share the importance of family — of learning about family stories and heritage. The LDS Church and subjects such as the Book of Mormon, missionary work, genealogy and temple work are woven into the story very naturally. A few quotations directly from the Book of Mormon are integrated into the story.

The story is engaging and appropriate for all ages and audiences.

Mary-Helen is a retired educator and avid genealogist. Daniel is a professor of history emeritus at Ottawa University in Phoenix. The husband-wife writing team lives in Peoria, Ariz. Each has separately authored several other books. They blog at http://ourwaywithwords.blogspot.com.

Book review: 'Charlie's Girl' by Mary-Helen and Daniel Foxx

In "Charlie's Girl," 14-year-old Rosalind has always been a foster girl without a past, until she's sent to live with her estranged grandmother in a house full of memoriesand secrets. Soon Rosalind discovers that there's more to her family history than she ever dreamed.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.

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