Seldom do I like a sequel better than the first book, but I’ve found an exception. I always pursue an offer of a book by Kate Dicamillo so I jumped at the chance offered by Net Galley for an advance reading copy of Louisiana’s Way Home. For the first time, Kate revisits a previous novel for her protagonist. From the Three Rancheros friendship of Raymie, Beverly, and Louisiana in Raymie Nightingale, Kate returns to tell Louisiana Elefante’s story.
The author, as is her practice, wastes no time hooking her bookworms as she begins with a sundering curse set in motion by Louisiana’s magician great-grandfather. The curse, handed down from one generation to the next, has now landed upon her head. As if that were not enough, Granny wakes Louisiana in the middle of the night for a date with destiny since “the day of reckoning is at hand,” and their journey begins.
Louisiana thinks she wants nothing more than to return home to her friends Raymie and Beverly. That’s before Granny abandons her leaving her with a note sharing truths about Granny and herself that are hard to swallow, and before she becomes acquainted with the people in the small Georgia town that becomes their destiny.
Kate said she had not intended to write another novel about the friends, but Louisiana insisted until she gave in. She said, “Boy, I am glad I did. I loved spending time with her again.” So will her readers.
This book goes on sale today and stands alone well without reading Raymie Nightingale, but I recommend reading both. I can only hope there will be another book that takes us into Beverly’s world. And lest you want more than my word for it, The Horn Book Magazine(Sept/Oct) gives it one of their scarce starred reviews.