The Coronado Public Library and the Cultural Arts Commission are proud to announce the title selected for the 2019 Coronado Community Read, Laura McNeal’s The Practice House: A Novel. In The Practice House, nineteen-year-old Aldine McKenna is stuck at home with her sister and aunt in a Scottish village in 1929 when two Mormon missionaries ring the doorbell. Aldine’s sister converts and moves to America to marry, and Aldine follows, hoping to find the life she’s meant to lead and the person she’s meant to love.
In New York, Aldine answers an ad soliciting a teacher for a one-room schoolhouse in a place she can’t possibly imagine: drought-stricken Kansas. She arrives as farms on the Great Plains have begun to fail and schools are going bankrupt, unable to pay or house new teachers. With no money and too much pride to turn back, she lives uneasily with the family of Ansel Price–the charming, optimistic man who placed the ad–and his family responds to her with kind curiosity, suspicion, and, most dangerously, love. Just as she’s settling into her strange new life, a storm forces unspoken thoughts to the surface that will forever alter the course of their lives.
Laura McNeal, one of Coronado’s local authors, grew up in small towns near U.S. Air Force bases. Laura holds a Masters of Art in fiction writing from Syracuse University. She has written three novels, Dark Water, The Incident on the Bridge, and The Practice House, and an anthology of three true crime novellas called You Can’t Leave Me Now. She has also co-written several novels with her husband Tom McNeal –Crushed, Zipped, Crooked, and The Decoding of Lana Morris. While many of her novels are aimed at young adult readers, The Practice House is her first novel for adults.
The community of Coronado chose 2019’s Community Read by voting for one of five titles, selected from among 65 nominations. The voting took place throughout the month of August and concluded on September 14. 668 ballots were cast in various locations around town, as well as online. The Coronado Community Read is a library program aimed at bringing the entire community together through the shared reading and discussion of one book. Join us from February 22 through April 5, 2019, for community book discussions, film screenings that explore the background of the novel, as well as music and programs to celebrate the themes in McNeal’s novel. Stay tuned for more details about the 2019 Coronado Community Read schedule, and travel back in time with us to explore Aldine’s and the Price family’s experiences in America and especially in nearby Fallbrook, California.
The Coronado Community Read is made possible by the Friends of the Coronado Public Library and the Coronado Cultural Arts Commission. If you are interested in hosting a book discussion or participating in the events, please contact Kelly Purvis at firstname.lastname@example.org or Franklin Escobedo at email@example.com.