Under the Tangerine Tree by Esther M. Brandy

Under the Tangerine Tree

Esther M. Bandy, Author

JEBCO Publishing, Fiction, Jan. 6, 2022

Suitable for ages: 8-12

Pages: 226

Themes: Loss, Grief, Family relationships, Moving, Adventure, Faith, Hope

Book Jacket Synopsis:

Twelve-year-old Angie Mangione lives with her parents and her five-year-old brother, Joey, in New York City. After Papa is shot, Mama moves with Angie and Joey to Granny’s house on a country lake in Florida. How can Angie cope with missing Papa, moving to Florida, being the new girl at school, and living with her angry teenage cousin at Granny’s house? Will Angie and Joey be able to survive the mysterious danger that lurks in the lake? With all the changes in Angie’s life, will she ever be happy again?

Why I like Under the Tangerine Tree:

Under the Tangerine Tree is a heartwarming tale about strong family bonds and faith after the unexpected death of a parent. It’s also about moving to a new town, making new friends and dealing with grief and other big emotions. 

Readers will enjoy Bandy’s visual and melodic writing. It is simply beautiful. And it is a timely book for children who have lost a parent through an act of gun violence. They will find a friend in Angie and the many other engaging and memorable characters.  The plot is interesting, adventurous and entertaining — especially with peacocks scratching and screaming on the roof of Granny’s house. And then there is the mystery in the lake that poses a danger.  

The story is set in 1963 when Angie Mangione is 12 years old. The time frame immediately drew me into the story because I was the same age in 1963. I observed many of the historical events of the time — the Bay of Pigs incident with Cuba, Martin Luther King’s speech at the Lincoln Memorial, and the death of President Kennedy — which are seamlessly woven into the story. It was a lazy summer time for kids as we played games outside, went fishing, caught lightning bugs and went on picnics. There was more interaction with family members and neighbors.

The story has a strong Christian theme as Angie struggles to deal with her father’s death. Her faith helps her through some tough times along with the support of her mother and Granny. It reminds me a bit of Because of Winn Dixie. It’s always tough moving to a new town and making new friends. 

This is a perfect summer read and a satisfying coming-of-age story. And I must comment on the title and beautiful book cover.

Esther Bandy  has been published in two anthologies: Treasures of a Woman’s Heart and Triumph from Tragedy. Under the Tangerine Tree is her debut middle-grade novel,  When she was five, a neighbor taught a Good News Club. She heard the gospel there, and she received the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior. That was the most important day in her life. She later worked as a nurse, a missionary, a director with Child Evangelism Fellowship, and a Spanish teacher at a Christian school.  Visit here at her website,  You can follow her on Facebook @EstherMBandy.

Greg Pattridge hosts Marvelous Middle Grade Monday posts on his wonderful Always in the Middle website. Check out the link to see all of the wonderful reviews by KidLit bloggers and authors.

*Review copy provided by the author in exchange for a review. 

About Patricia Tiltonhttps://childrensbooksheal.wordpress.comI want "Children's Books Heal" to be a resource for parents, grandparents, teachers and school counselors. My goal is to share books on a wide range of topics that have a healing impact on children who are facing challenges in their lives. If you are looking for good books on grief, autism, visual and hearing impairments, special needs, diversity, bullying, military families and social justice issues, you've come to the right place. I also share books that encourage art, imagination and creativity. I am always searching for those special gems to share with you. If you have a suggestion, please let me know.

24 thoughts on “Under the Tangerine Tree by Esther M. Brandy

  1. The cover is wonderful. I like this kind of story. I can’t imagine losing a family member due to violence. It must be so difficult for children to come to grips with.


    • Darlene, thank you for your comment. When I began writing Under the Tangerine Tree, I knew of several children who had lost their fathers to violence. I wanted to write a book that would comfort them. I hope this book is a blessing for children who are struggling with grief, whether that grief is from the loss of a father or someone else they’ve lost.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Count me in, too, for a person who enjoys books set in the 60s. Many are set from 1967-70 so one happening during 1963 is unique. The story really sounds compelling. Thanks for featuring your review on MMGM today.


    • You are right. You don’t see many books published in the late 50s-early 60s. It was the best of times for kids. People were moving to the suburbs, our houses were smaller with a one-car garage. No air conditioning, just fans and Ice Cream trucks. We started playing in the morning and came home for dinner. Lots of mom’s to watch us.


    • Greg, thank you for your comment. I was that age in 1963, and I have vivid memories of many of the events in the book. I hope you enjoy reading my book.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I enjoy reading books from different time periods. I bet it was fun reading a book that took place during your lifetime- when you were the same age. Very cool! Sounds like a great book. Thanks for sharing.


      • Patricia, thank you again for sharing your excellent review. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I was hoping that adults who grew up during those years would enjoy the nostalgia as much as I did while I wrote it.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Stephanie, I enjoy reading books from different time periods as well. I also enjoyed writing Under the Tangerine Tree because many of the scenes were inspired by my childhood.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Pingback: Under the Tangerine Tree by Esther M. Brandy — Children’s Books Heal – Jasper Lynn

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