A Storm of Strawberries, a novel from Jo Cotterill (A Library of Lemons), is an engrossing and thoughtful read.
Cotterill’s protagonist is twelve year old Darby. She lives on a Strawberry Farm (FYI an actual, real strawberry farm – yum, wonderful setting!), with her older sister & brother, her parents and some wonderful farm workers who are just like family to Darby, a 12 year old with Down’s Syndrome.
A Storm of Strawberries takes place during a tumultuous time on the farm – a storm is coming, a potentially devastating tornado. Whilst the adults in the family are distracted by their efforts to save the crops, Darby is distracted by sister Kaydee, Kaydee’s friend Lissa and whether or not the annual Easter chocolate hunt will go ahead as promised. It really is the highlight of Darby’s year.
As the impending tornado increases the tension outside on the farm, tensions inside the home are also increasing. Told from Darby’s point of view, an endearing character, she’s keen not to be left out when Kaydee has Lissa round for a sleepover.
The kiss she witnesses between the two girls confuses Darby – will Kaydee still love her little sister if she now loves Lissa? Should she mention it to Mum? Kaydee has made it VERY clear she shouldn’t… why is Kaydee so worried about Mum finding out?
A Storm of Strawberries effortlessly captures the chaotic nature of family life, the juggling that goes on, and the myriad of different personalities jostling for position.