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The Undertaking of Tess

"Her Life Ain't Ever Gonna be the Same."

uring the summer of 1959, ten-year-old Theresa "Tessie" Finley has her work cut out for her. Not only is she attempting to come to grips with the devastating loss and guilt she feels after she witnessed her father's drowning, her kid sister, Birdie, refuses to believe that their beloved Daddy is really gone. Tessie needs to make sure that she does before their Mom gets wind of how much "weirder" her sister's getting. Stronger, and more down to Earth than ethereal Birdie, she's always watched over her sister, so it's only natural for her to come up with a plan that she jots down on one of her never-ending TO-DO lists. If Tessie can't achieve her goals, she's desperately worried that the beautiful, but self-occupied Louise, might send emotionally fragile Birdie to the County insane asylum.

Her Daddy always told her, "A Finley never throws in the towel," so more than anything Tess wants to make him proud, but despite her resourcefulness and grit, she's smart enough to know that the odds are stacked against her and her time is running out.

Good Graces

Heartbreaking, funny, nostalgic, and spiritually uplifting, you'll cheer the Finley sisters on from the first page to the last of this charming novella that sets the stage for the upcoming novel, The Resurrection of Tess Blessing.


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  Check out these READER REVIEWS!

"A tender yet big-hearted coming-of-age story filled with heartbreak, secrets, and humorous observations of the convoluted adult world through which two young sisters must navigate."
   —Beth Hoffman, New York Times bestselling author of Looking for Me and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

"Heart-rending, yet humorous and filled with hope, The Undertaking of Tess is a rare treat from an author who truly knows how to create unforgettable characters. Readers who loved Kagen's Whistling in the Dark, will adore Tess and Birdie in this delightful novella."
   —Sandra Kring, author of the national bestseller, The Book of Bright Ideas

"A bittersweet coming-of-age in the Fifties story that'll have you crying one minute and laughing out loud the next. Kagen's ability to capture children's deepest emotions never fails to impress."
   —Bonnie Shimko, award-winning author of The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye