Thursday, April 26, 2012


In real life, Joyce Magnin is one funny lady. As an author, Joyce creates memorable, lovable characters that will make you laugh and possibly even shed a tear. Her latest heroine, Harriet Beamer, is no exception.

In Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus, the title character is a widowed senior citizen who collects salt and pepper shakers and has meaningful conversations with her basset hound, Humphrey. While decorating her Christmas tree, Harriet takes a spill and breaks her ankle. The discovery that the ankle is indeed broken causes her to lose an impulsive bet with her daughter-in-law. Always one to keep her word, Harriet must now pack up her shakers, sell her house, and move from Philadelphia to Grass Valley, California. Harriet's none too happy about it, but she decides to do it on her own terms.

Harriet decides to take the bus. And not a Greyhound. Oh no. Harriet will take public transportation across the country.

The ensuing road trip is filled with discovery as Harriet sets out on the adventure of her life. She meets every kind of person you can think of, touching lives along the way. As she changes them, Harriet herself changes. She trades in her nice shoes and dresses for sneakers and jeans. She learns how to use a smart phone and a GPS. Better still, God uses her experiences to transform Harriet on the inside.

This is a lovely, gentle book. As Harriet makes her way to California on buses, trains, motorcycles, and whatever way she can, her son, Henry and wife Prudence are dealing with their own issues. Henry goes from being worried about his mom to rooting her on. As does Humphrey, who waits patiently for his owner in California, encouraging the humans around him anyway he can.

Joyce has written a much-loved series of books about Bright's Pond . In her latest novel, she continues to live up to her reputation for creating characters with heart and soul. I'd encourage anyone to pick up Harriet Beamer Takes the Bus. It's a trip worth taking!

Joyce Magnin is the author of five novels, including the popular and quirky Bright's Pond series and the middle grade novel Carrying Mason. She is a writing instructor and frequent conference speaker. Joyce lives in Pennsylvania with her son, Adam, and their crazy cat, Mango, who likes to eat nachos.

And now, for the legal stuff: I received and advance copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. There was no monetary compensation.

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