by Jacqueline Kelly
Overall: 3 out of 5 stars
I had such high hopes for this sequel after adoring the first book, The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate, which I found hilarious and endearing. Callie Vee is back and just as indignant as ever that she should be treated equally to her six brothers and allowed to become a vet, and I appreciated the feminism. I had been hoping, upon finishing the first book, that we would see a sequel featuring more of her relationship with her oldest brother, Harry, and her own attempts at dating (which I imagine would look a lot like those of Skeeter Phelan in The Help). In the actual sequel, however, the featured brother is her sensitive little brother Travis and his inability to turn away from a creature in need. I loved seeing Callie’s aptitude for veterinary science developed in contrast to Travis’ weak stomach, even though, as the boy, Travis is the one encouraged to become a vet. Equally satisfying was their relationship, especially in contrast to her more contentious sibling (or sibling-like) relationships with her brother Lamar and her cousin Aggie who comes to stay with them after the devastating damage from the hurricane in Galveston. I liked the historical aspects of telegrams, telegraphs, typewriters, and photographs, but at times it felt a bit forced to be constantly reminded of what was and wasn’t normal for the time and there were even some details that I doubted. Overall, though, the story is solid (though the Aggie storyline resolved itself a bit abruptly at the very end) and I’m still hoping for yet a third book in the series to tackle the illusive courtship issue. I also find myself wondering what Callie will do when she loses her beloved Granddaddy, and would like to see her deal with grief and finding her own way in the world without running to him for every answer.