Thursday, August 21, 2014

Annie's Third Wind by Wally Carlson

By Shawn

This is my first visit to Annie's world, but not the first book in the series.  In Annie's Second Wind, we meet Annie Perkins and her band of misfits that live on Seven Sisters Island. In this second book, we return to the island with Annie and meet some new people, as well as say good bye to some from the first book.  All the while, Annie and her posse serve up their own style of justice and just try to get by with a little love and a lot of hope.

Wally Carlson was an unknown to me until I read this book.  Honestly, I can't figure out why he hasn't been writing his entire life.  I did a little research, and couldn't find anything written before his Annie series.  Which doesn't make a lot of sense to me.  See, his writing is the perfect blend of Janet Evanovich and Jan Karon.  Seems like an odd combination,right?  Let me explain.  I fell in love with Jan Karon's Mitford series years ago.  She had this talent for building people and communities that just left me awestruck.  Janet Evanovich is one of the few authors that can describe an absurd situation so well that it is truly laugh-out-loud funny.  Combining both of those, Carlson builds this amazing island full of characters that you can't help but immediately love.  Not only that, you desperately wish you could be a part of them.  At the same time, you'll find yourself laughing so hard at the sheer absurdity of some of the characters and their situations that you'll have trouble breathing.  Add to that the immensity of emotion that hits you when things aren't going as they should, and you have the makeup for an incredible series.  Carlson is one of my new favorite writers and I can't wait to get my hands on more.  These are books for the keeper shelf that I will reread time and again.

Though I was really impressed with Carlson's writing style, as well as storytelling, what impressed me the most was his way of character captivation.  Several of the characters are from the first book,but I felt such a kinship with them that I didn't even realize I was missing their back story.  Having not read the first book (Please correct this oversight, Wally ;) ), I was expecting it to be a little rugged, but it wasn't at all.  It reads great as a standalone and even though you realize that the world has been previously built and standing, you don't feel like you're missing out on anything.  We also don't have paragraph after paragraph explaining to us what we may have missed.  It simply is.  Now, the flip side of that is that you desperately WANT to know what happened in the first book.  Not because you need it for the second, but because one you've finished the book, you have the craving to jump right back into Annie's island for another visit, and to stay as long as you can.

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