Coming of age tale brings childhood to life

“Betsy Blossom Brown” is a beautifully written coming of age story by West Virginia author Kathleen M. Jacobs. In the book we follow the life of the title character as she learns to live with and come to terms with all the things good and bad that life throws her way.

Betsy is a young girl, an only child living a privileged life with her devoted parents and seeing the world in her own special way due to a diagnosis of mild Asperger’s. She loves her art, riding in her mother’s convertible and has a vast collection of Godiva Chocolate boxes where she stores her treasures.

Her privileged life in Charleston, South Carolina, comes crashing down when secrets her father tried to hide make themselves known. Suddenly Betsy and her mother find their lives changed forever. Not wanting to endure the gossip and speculation about what happened, they set out on a journey that takes them to Fayette County, West Virginia. While there, they travel the surrounding area, planning and seeking out adventure where they encounter fascinating people and places. Still, events force her to cope in her own special way.

Betsy is open, honest and says exactly what’s on her mind. She’s a wonderfully written character and I found myself rethinking how I see people and places. Her mother is a true southern lady. Graceful and elegant, she adores Betsy, who she lovingly calls Sugar. The other characters in the book are well written and serve their purpose to bring either stability and love to Betsy or make her life challenging.

Jacobs’ love for her adopted home state of West Virginia and her fondness for Fayette county, its people, places and history shine through. There is even a section of the book that contains Betsy’s drawings of the people and places she encounters. Wonderfully illustrated by Anna Hartman, they will help readers clearly understand what Betsy is seeing and feeling. Local readers might also find their next Fayette County venture is viewed with Betsy’s excitement and her commentary foremost in their mind.