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I don't review books I don't like!

*****= An all-time favorite
****  = Outstanding
***    = Above average
**      = Enjoyable
*        = Good, with reservations



by Dorothy Gilman

Reviewed January 19, 2002.
A Sonderbooks' Best Book of 2002 (#1, Fiction Rereads)
Doubleday, 1992.  263 pages.

I can’t think of another book quite like Caravan.  It’s as thrilling and full of suspense and life-or-death escapes as a spy novel, but there’s no spying involved.  It’s got a beautiful love story, but that doesn’t start until toward the end, so you couldn’t call it a romance. Besides that, the love story is completely untraditional.  You could probably call it a coming-of-age novel, but no one else ever came of age the same way that Caressa Horvath did.  I don’t want to say anything about the plot, because almost every chapter has a surprise or a narrow escape.  Let me simply say that the first time I read this book, it stayed on my mind for weeks.  An excellent book.

I thought of reading this book because a brand-new Dorothy Gilman book is sitting on my desk at the library, waiting to be processed.  Expect a review in the next issue!  (The only reason I left it on my desk was that I opened the box after I was already supposed to have gone home.)

I first discovered Dorothy Gilman in a lucky moment when I was browsing the shelves of the Torrance Public Library as a teen.  Her first novels were the Mrs. Pollifax books.  They are thoroughly delightful, about an elderly lady who was bored with life and volunteered to be a CIA agent.  (We have some of them at the Sembach Library.  The first one is called The Unexpected Mrs. Pollifax.)  She was sent on a simple courier mission and ended up embroiled in dangerous international intrigue.  Later on, I discovered that I like Dorothy Gilman’s non-Pollifax books perhaps even better.

Dorothy Gilman’s characters are never boring, and are always quirky.  I find that makes them endearing and likeable.  Most of them have frightfully dysfunctional backgrounds, but they end up coping with life just fine.  Rather refreshing, for a change.


Copyright © 2003 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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