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When I started reading it, I loved the feel of the book. It read like a lazy, hazy summer day. Where you relax and do what you please, or whatever the day lead you to do. This made some sense, as the book tells the stories of Sophia, who is around 7, and her Grandmother at and around their summer cabin on an island in the Gulf of Finland. Sophia's Papa is around too but he doesn't really say much. But that was the feeling of the book, the relaxing and calm summer holiday.
Coming back to it from Evening Mists, the elements of calm and peace seemed to have gone from the book. I am not sure if that is because the stories changed, or that coming back from serene Japanese gardens in the Malaysian rainforest without any children had changed my threshold for calm.
I loved Grandmother. I found her rather fun. A complete smart arse but also knew exactly what to do to placate Sophia. The stories were well constructed and just the right length. And for someone who hasn't made it to Scandinavia yet (my 5 year old self is so upset about this. She's been waiting so many years to go find Vikings!), I really had no trouble imagining this little, quiet island.
The problem I had when I came back to the book was that Sophia seemed more spoilt and indulged. And I got so annoyed with her tantrums. Although objectively, she was stuck on an island with only two adults who sometimes didn't pay her any attention at all. Maybe I can understand her slightly. However, I had to take one star off because of Sophia though.
But it's just a bit like life I guess. No matter how much of a relaxing summer holiday it is, someone always has a kid that will come in, throw a tantrum and ruin it just a little bit for every one else.