Thomas Finch Mackee is many things to many people. Musician, friend, and most recently complete jerk.
Five years ago his world seemed certain. He was friends with the girls from school. He wanted to be something more to Tara Finke. He would follow his charming father anywhere–most people would, Dom has always been a pied piper. That was before London.
That was before his family had to bury another empty coffin, this time for Tom’s uncle lost in the London bombing.
After London nothing is quite so sure. Tom’s father is gone. His mother and sister are in another city. He’s lost touch with his friends. Tom’s life is falling apart.
When Tom moves in with his pregnant aunt and finds a job working with the friends he abandoned he might also find a way back to himself. Everything is broken. But with a little time, and a lot of forgiveness, some of it can probably be fixed in The Piper’s Son (2011) by Melina Marchetta.
What a beautiful book. I’ve cried because books are funny, because they are sad, but this is the first time I ever felt teary at the end of the book because everything is so perfect and so beautiful.
The Piper’s Son is Marchetta’s fifth book. It is also a sequel to Saving Francesca–a book that has a permanent place in my top five all time favorite books. Interestingly you can see hints of Marchetta’s earlier works in this novel. You can see nods to Jellicoe Road in the snappy beginning*, Finnikin of the Rock in the things not overtly said, and of course nods to Saving Francesca (and even Looking for Alibrandi in terms of family dynamics). Much as I love Marchetta’s earlier books, especially Saving Francesca, this one might surpass them all.
Set five years after Saving Francesca this is an interesting book that is being marketed as Young Adult but where all of the characters are, technically, adults (Tom and his group are in their early twenties). The story also alternates between Tom’s view and his aunt Georgie who is 42 and pregnant. The alternating voices work to flesh out the story and make sense of Tom’s complex family. Their stories in tandem also work to highlight how much both characters change from the beginning of The Piper’s Son to the end.
Although The Piper’s Son is a sequel you can almost read it before Saving Francesca** because Marchetta has so masterfully built in Tom and his friends’ backstories into Tom’s story has readers learn what happened between the two novels. Everyone reader’s loved from Saving Francesca (Francesca and the girls and even Will Trombal) returns in this novel along with a lot of great new characters (Ned, Anabel). This book truly made me love Francesca and her group even more than I did before.
As always Marchetta has left me completely floored and truly enchanted. The Piper’s Son is a wonderful story that is both optimistic and utterly enthralling.
*And in a certain violin player named Ben! Thanks to the inimitable Karyn Silverman for pointing out Ben’s cameo to me!
**Don’t do this because part of the charm of Saving Francesca is meeting these characters for the first time. But if you feel you must ignore my advice, know that you could.
Possible Pairings: A Little Wanting Song by Cath Crowley, Entwined by Heather Dixon, Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst, Reuinted by Hilary Weisman Graham, Stealing Henry by Carolyn MacCullough, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell, Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altedbrando, Rayne and Delilah’s Midnite Matinee by Jeff Zentner
Exclusive Bonus Content: I also want to say that I love the cover which is very different from the covers found on Saving Francesca but also in a way very Tom. It also ties in well with the scenes of the prologue. I also wanted to mention that Tom’s email is “anabelsbrother” and Anabel’s email is “tomssister” and it’s the cutest thing I’ve ever seen in a novel. I’m glad I’m an only child because I’d be crushed if I had a sibling and they didn’t want to do that kind of email with me.