A review by thewordwitch
Changes for Samantha: A Winter Story by Valerie Tripp, Dan Andreasen


This series is so incredibly tumble-jumble and disjointed. As a kid, I didn't pick up on this, but I remember I would pick and choose Samantha stories to reread as opposed to the other girls, where I would re-read their whole series from start to finish.

I felt as if the first two books were written to give Samantha an arc that would carry over the six books. This was derailed slightly in book 3, and it went entirely off the rails with book 4 and the appearance of the twins. In book 6, it seemed that there was a mad scramble to pick up with the arc from books 1 and 2. But, the difference between what was going on in books 4 and 5 was jarring.

Grandmary has since gotten married to Admiral Archibald Bemis, and we are robbed of the fun of that wedding and of most of Samantha's feelings about it. (Maybe this is covered in a side book or a short story, but we don't see it in the main series.) Samantha now lives with Uncle Gard and Aunt Cornelia. The twins, despite being in the character vignettes at the beginning, are nowhere to be seen in this book despite having been always underfoot in the last two. (Kind of glad about this, because they were just chaotic energy I didn't need.)

Fortunately, we return to her true BFF in this book, Nellie. Of course, we're touching on some very dark themes, because Val Tripp loves killing off parents. Nellie, who has had a pretty hard go at it right along, is now forced into an almost parental role for his younger sisters with the death of her parents. We're blind-sided with this in the beginning of the book, and the dark realities of what would happen to orphans during that time period is touched on. It reminded me a lot of Anne's past in "Anne with an E" (based on "Anne of Green Gables"). I am glad we get closure on what happens with Nellie and that the twins are sent to the sidelines. I was afraid that she'd be ignored for the flashy consumerism that the twins seem to be focused on.

Overall, of the three books written by Val Tripp in the series, this one seems to connect the most to what Samantha's original storyline was, and I appreciate that.