Because of childhood abuse, Marion struggles with selective mutism. She has conquered the fear and learned how to manage the problem, but she still hasn't learned to be a confident and independent woman. As she settles into life at the unusual campground, Peace and Pigs, she gains confidence, an identity, and leadership skills. She even is forced to face her past when it finds where she is hiding in Nottingham. Of course, she finds out her father's secret and finds true love at the end of the book.
I don't normally like reading books about someone overcoming their past abuse or working through emotional problems. I prefer reading books that are lighter and not deeply dramatic. But Marion is so matter-of-fact about her past and seems to shrug off its weight as the book unfolds, that it never sinks into pity party "feel my pain" mode. The book itself has a light humorous feel instead of an emotionally draining tone. I enjoyed learning more about Marion as the book unfolded, and seeing how her new friends, new faith, and new life situation helped her grow into a stronger person.
This book wasn't depressing or dark, despite some very serious and dark traumas in Marion's life and in her father's past. The cover's whimsical artwork does fit in well with the feel of the book. I definitely recommend it for someone looking for a good story. The book is full of very colorful characters and it makes you wonder if one small town in England really exists with so many unique people.
(I will caution that though this book doesn't contain strong language, and does touch lightly on Marion's Christian faith, it does include some mention of mature subjects and situations. As my kids say, "it's PG-13 for brief nudity and SC". However, it's not bawdy, it's not a bodice-ripper, and I would let my 15 year old daughter read it. I won't say more because it would give away some twists and funny moments in the plot. But if you want a book that never addresses sex at all, this one isn't it.)
Making Marion is a very enjoyable book and I definitely recommend it. I don't know if Beth Moran intends to return to Nottingham and the Peace and Pigs campground in any future books, but I would definitely read them if she did.
Disclaimer: This book was given to me free, by Kregel Publications, for review purposes. It is a Lion Hudson imprint, and I thank both Kregel and Lion Hudson for the chance to review this book. No other compensation was given and this review contains my honest opinions.