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Aunt Dimity and the Family Tree by Nancy Atherton
Cover Artist: Tamaye Perry
Review by Gayle Surrette
Viking Hardcover  ISBN/ITEM#: 9780670022434
Date: 17 February 2011 List Price $24.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /

Lori's father-in-law, William Willis, Sr., is now retired and wants to live near his grandchildren. He bought Fairworth House and has been renovating the house, outbuildings, and grounds. He's also been looking for a housekeeper/handyman couple to work for him, so Lori can be freed to just be a mother and take care of only one house.

Problems of course are going to develop because Willis, Sr. is good-looking for a man his age and there are several single women in Finch who'd like to be special to Lori's father-in-law. The object of finding a couple to look after him and the house is to keep these women from showing up at his home at all hours looking to offer their "help". On the night of the grand open house for neighbors and friends, Willis Sr. hires the perfect couple, the Donovans. Lori thinks they may be just too perfect because, with their arrival, strange things begin to happen at Fairworth House and Finch.

Then there's the problem with Sally Pyne. It seems that she told a little lie while she was on vacation, and only Willis, Sr. can help her save face and remain in Finch. But it is really difficult to keep a secret in the small village of Finch. Will Sally, Lori, William Willis, Sr., and the Donovans be able to keep this secret hidden? Well, to find out you'd have to read the book.

I've missed a few books and Aunt Dimity & the Family Tree was like visiting old friends. Lori is finally managing to curb her impulse to jump to conclusions, and to stop to make a reality check now and then. That's not to say that she doesn't go off the deep end with her flights of fancy, but she at least now realizes that she's doing it. Now the story derives naturally from the situation and the actions of the characters. While they may make some bad decisions, those decisions are made as they try to do the best they can, not because they are willfully acting contrary to their best interest.

The stories are just as much fun as they have always been. Finch is the village that we all wished still existed where no one locks their doors, crime is at a minimum, and everyone knows everyone else's business. These are great books to settle down with and enjoy some time with people who could be your neighbors living life as it once was when we took time to just relax rather than race from one thing to another.

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