TREASURE OF THE BLUE WHALE takes readers back to the small northern California town of Tesoro in 1934, in the middle of the Great Depression. Tesoro is a quiet little town, but for ten-year-old Connor, it’s a haven full of lively and entertaining characters. Connor and his little brother Alex have been raised, sustained by, and supported by their neighbors for much of their lives, as their father left when Alex was born and their mother struggled with mental illness for much of their young childhood. So when Connor finds what he’s told is a treasure worth an immense fortune, his grateful impulse is to share it around equally. What comes out of this simple, generous act is a humorous, sometimes farcical look at human greed, impulsiveness, and sudden materialistic excess–but also a warm and generous tale about communities banding together, caring for each other, and working to support and sustain the values that matter most in the end.
The balance is perfect–there is enough sentimental nostalgia and deep, tender familial affection here to soften the heart and even draw tears in places, but it’s livened with a bright, entertaining sense of mischief that keeps it from ever becoming cloying, and with enough real suspense and adventure to keep the reader engaged until the last page. The story is told in such a way that the readers can go from the tender courtship of Connor’s mother, to the adventures of Mr Sprinkles the monkey and the jeweled toilet seat, to Connor’s daring adventures as a spy, without ever missing a beat or feeling the jolt of a sudden change in tone. The characters are all distinctive, three-dimensional, and full of personality – even minor characters shine with a life of their own and add to Tesoro’s charm and vigor. The story is seen both through the innocent eyes of ten-year-old Connor and those of his older self, telling the story with the wisdom gained from age and experience, giving us a dual perspective on events–and the older man’s rose-colored view of his childhood. All in all, it’s a thoroughly amusing, engaging, and heartwarming read, a lovely way to pass an afternoon or two and feel better for the experience.
TREASURE OF THE BLUE WHALE is a charming, nostalgic story full of lively characters, entertaining escapades, and dramatic flourishes, punctuated by moments of delightfully farcical humor.
~Catherine Langrehr for IndieReader