Author: Kathy Wilson Florence

ISBN: 978-0-99867-810-8

Author of Jaybird’s Song, Kathy Wilson Florence has made candles, worked as a graphic designer, columnist, and copywriter. (back cover, 2017).  Jaybird’s Song is her first novel. She has also penned You’ve Got a Wedgie and Cha Cha Cha.

The story is set in the 1950’s to 60’s in the beginning and then moves into today. Because I grew up during that time a lot of what happens in this book, it really hit home for me. The experiences that the main characters go through with family and friends was like a walk back into time. I loved it!

Jaybird is a nickname for the main character that is telling this story. She is one of three siblings, all girls. The eldest. Jaybird’s real name is Josie Flint and she has a wonderful connection to her grandmother Annie Jo from birth through death. Much of the story is about the interactions of Josie and her friends where Annie Jo or her home is also a central component of what is transpiring. No doubt Annie Jo is the hub of life as these girls are growing up and well into adulthood. It is heartwarming and fun. As a reader, you can feel the love between the characters.

School and family activities in those days was good clean innocent fun. Josie grew up in an ideal family during a very coming of age timeframe for the people of America and the world. For instance, the space program was central to family and helped foment our connection with a wider exploration of what the universe might hold. This family recalls how important it was to them and I do too. The death of President Kennedy and the Civil Rights movement are also topics and themes that this story walks through as the plot unfolds. All were milestones to where we are today.

Josie’s perfect family life as shaken up when her father was killed suddenly in a boat accident when she was 10. However, it was not just the death that shocked and saddened her family, but the realization that he father, who all thought was the ideal man, was having an affair with one of Josie’s teachers who was also killed in that boating tragedy. Josie never forgave him for the embarrassment she suffered at school and for leaving her family fatherless. She had to grow up faster and help her mother transition through this unsettling time which is a lot for a young child to assume.

Eventually, Josie and her sisters marry and have families of their own. They have the usual difficulties and hurdles, but come together when times dictate they need to. It’s about love, loss, and forgiveness. A lot of what I read was similar to situations I lived through and felt a deep connection to each character. I so enjoyed this book and believe you will to.