4 out of 4 stars
Share This Review
The Skye in June by June Ahern recounts the story of the MacDonald family, a young Scottish family who immigrates to San Francisco in the 1960’s in search of a better life. June is the youngest daughter in the large family. From the beginning, she is different. Cathy, June’s mother, chooses to forego naming June after a saint, as is the Catholic tradition. Her unconventional name lays the groundwork for June’s irregular ways. Though the MacDonald girls are raised strictly by the rules of Catholicism, starting at a young age, June begins to disagree with many of the traditional teachings. Further, June is plagued by visions as well as the supernatural ability to read people’s emotions. Her interest in tarot cards, coupled with constant tales of a guardian angel, alienate June from her family. Her parents are quick to reprimand the outrageous behavior. Will June ever conform? Or will she manage to find her own path despite her family's wishes. The Skye in June is a coming of age tale as well as a story of a deep connection between a mother and her daughter.
The most enjoyable aspects of The Skye in June are the compelling characters. The prevalent characters are June and her mother Cathy. Although the two are similar in many ways, their relationship is strained because of June’s unwillingness to conform to the standards set out by her religion. Ahern paints these characters beautifully; they are both strong women seeking to break away from societal norms. June and Cathy are conflicted and flawed, making them feel real. Further, as time within the story progresses, June and Cathy evolve based on the catastrophic events that surround the MacDonald family. The character maturity added great depth to the narrative.
Similarly, the secondary characters are equally as defined. Each of June’s three sisters has a unique voice and a separate story that is communicated to the reader. Though June has three sisters all close in age, it was easy to distinguish between them. The author captured the vast differences in personality that is common among sisters. Taking place during the 1960’s, the various female characters reflect the movement toward gender equality reminiscent of the time period.
At times, the pacing is a little slow; events take place that don’t seem all that important. However, at the conclusion, all of these incidents in June’s life make perfect sense. No part of the narrative seems trivial anymore. The author takes time weaving an intricate tale that spans many years, all culminating in a satisfying, yet curious conclusion.
There were a few minor errors towards the beginning of the book; but in no way did the editorial oversights take away from the wonderful tale of June. For that reason, I rate The Skye in June 4 out of 4 stars. Those who enjoy historical fiction, especially stories with feminist and religious undertones will appreciate this book. Catholicism and paganism both play a role in June’s story, therefore, this book may not be enjoyed by all readers.
The Skye in June
View: on Bookshelves | on Amazon
Like MarisaRose's review? Post a comment saying so!