Ah, nostalgia at its finest. The Penderwicks is a simple, sweet, and timeless story. Seriously; it’s contemporary, but aside from some little details, it could be in the forties, or anytime in between.
The four Penderwick sisters and their father are on vacation, staying on a cottage on the grounds of mansion and making friends with the gardener, the cook, and Jeffrey, the boy who lives in the mansion. Unfortunately, the boy’s mother is much less pleasant; in fact, she’s a domineering, classist, pretentious woman, who never bothered to figure out that her son is not her father reborn. Naturally, being helpful-type young women, the Penderwicks need to help Jeffrey deal with his mother, as well as dealing with their own family and growing-up issues.
It’s well written, it’s sweet without crossing over into cloying, and the characters are realistic. The issues are not huge, but they’re dealt with well. Grab this one when you’re feeling overwhelmed with the world and enjoy the escapism.