Tuesday, February 23, 2010

'Hungry Spirits', Alice Duncan, June 2010, Five Star/Cengage

Alice Duncan's main character, Daisy Gumm Majesty is a delight who pretends to converse with spirits and does it for a living. The setting is 1921 after the Great War; Daisy's husband Billy was in the war for one year before he came home injured from bullets and shrapnel. But the mustard gas had the worst effect on Billy; he is unable to walk, breathing is difficult and he is miserable. Daisy and Billy live with her parents and her Aunt Viola (who is an excellent cook) in a bungalow in Pasadena.

Daisy is a self-proclaimed terrible cook and is quite surprised when she is asked by friend Johnny Buckingham, a minister with the Salvation Army, to teach a cooking class for women who are poor and some are war refugees. What Johnny really wants is Daisy's personality-kind and gentle-to teach these frightened women. Because of what happened to Billy, Daisy does not like or trust Germans. Her cooking class leads her into a mystery but also becomes an eye opener for Daisy.

Alice Duncan has given us a slice of life book in post-wartime with an interlocking mystery. She delves into the feelings of the survivors and the families who lost loved ones. 'Hungry Spirits' has substance in the story line as well as in each character. This book taught me quite a bit about that time, peoples' emotions and what a hard time it was for so many.

A great change of pace book, thoroughly enjoyable with great writing that holds your interest throughout. I highly recommend it; it's good for the heart and soul!


  1. Thank you, Connie! I really appreciate this review, because you "got" it. Although the book is a light read, the problems in it are real and hard, and Daisy deals with them because she has to, and I think she does it with a certain grace, even though she gets frustrated a lot. But she knows, as most of us do if we live long enough, that life goes on whether you want it to or not!

  2. This book sounds like a great way to get an inside view of another time...something that I love. I will look for it--congrats, Alice, and great review, Connie!