Read The Undertaking of Tess by Lesley Kagen Online


From New York Times bestselling author Lesley Kagen. Four months on Amazon's Top 100 women's fiction/sister list!During 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, but her kid sister, Birdie, refusesFrom New York Times bestselling author Lesley Kagen. Four months on Amazon's Top 100 women's fiction/sister list!During 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, but 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.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....

Title : The Undertaking of Tess
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781940716541
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 185 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Undertaking of Tess Reviews

  • Erin
    2019-04-22 07:30

    A novella, The Undertaking of Tess showcases what author Lesley Kagen does best. Presenting mischievous child protagonists that protect their younger siblings. The story reminded me of Whistling in the Dark so much that I felt Tess was really just another Sally O'Malley and Birdie was another Troo. Both sets of girls lose their fathers to tragedy and both have a man crazy Irish mother that cannot cook. For that lack of originality, I just cannot give this book a rating of higher than 2 stars.

  • Judy Collins
    2019-03-30 07:48

    The Finley Sisters are guaranteed to steal your heart, as you laugh out loud with Lesley Kagen’sbittersweet novella, THE UNDERTAKING OF TESS, and double your pleasure, with a continuation of this dynamic duo in THE RESURRECTION OF TESS BLESSING. In the summer of 1959, in Milwaukee there are two sisters, not yet teens, both OCD; Tess with her daily routine of making lists(and keeping them updated daily) with: • Her To-Do Lists (love the strike outs, when she accomplishes the item, or no longer needed), • Her Shit List (hilarious)• Her Criminal Activity List (brilliant)• Life’s Little Mysteries (award-winning)• Her Royal Highness’s Favorite Things (this would be their narcissistic bitchy mom, Louise)• What Went Missing the Same Time Daddy Did List (insightful and heartbreaking) Tess (Theresa) knows how to bullshit with the best of them, feels guilty of so many things, and quite the mischievous one (as she has to be one step ahead of her mom and all the neighbors--having to take care of her kid sister Birdie who is the underdog, so her mom will not have her carted off to the loony bin—man, she carries some heavy burdens for a young girl. Birdie (Robin Jean) on the other hand is naïve, fragile, innocent, overweight, loves to eat, and adores her sister, and has an imaginary friend, Bess. She is OCD on steroids, loves to keep everything clean and spotless, while complimenting everything their beautiful mother does in order to keep peace.The girls (endearing) loved their dad, as he adored practical jokes of all kinds; however their mom Louise is a different story (and not in a good way). After the tragic drowning of their dad (Lake Michigan on a boat fishing with Tess), the two girls have to endure their selfish mother, who does not allow them to attend the funeral of their dad. Louise, the motheris now forced to go to work, to support them, stating she has to find a man to marry her. Tess thinks she could have saved her dad, as she has to make Birdie come to grips with reality that their dad is dead, as she thinks he is living in Boca (funny as Boca is about 20 minutes south of me).Boy, oh boy, what entertainment and imagination by the author! She is a comedian (guess this comes from her vast background),as she has some great one-liners, I was busy bookmarking. Having grown up in the fifties/sixties, I could so relate, and felt like I was stepping back in time (I was the mischievous one, grounded most of the time; with bratty, tattle tale younger sister and nosy grandmother living next door).Great character development, with two lovable sisters which will draw you into their complex world with this funny, bittersweet, and moving coming of age e-short story; a perfect prequel for the continuation of these two fun loving sisters. Having just finished an ARC of, The Resurrection of Tess Blessing which I read first and loved (when I requested via NetGalley at the last minute, was unaware there was a prequel short story). Immediately after reading, purchased the novella, as was so intrigued and curious about the earlier childhood of Tess and Birdie. The books can be read as a standalone; however, trust me, you will want to read both!The novella is a great introduction into the girl’s lives in the fifties growing up, and continues in the full novel with THE RESURRECTION OF TESS BLESSING, where Tess is now married, in her late forties, with two children, and Birdie her estranged sister, is living in Boca. Tess is still making lists; however, now they are more grown up issues. Where has Lesley Kagen been all my life, as just now hearing about her?She has a unique way of capturing voices, emotions, thoughts and feelings with much depth. Thank you NetGalley for introducing me to such a talented author. Wow, now I have to read all her previous books, as she has just been added to my favorite author list! Highly recommend both; I am still smiling.Love the front cover.Judith D. Collins Must Read Books

  • Beth
    2019-04-13 02:37

    Known for her distinct narratives told through a child’s eyes, Lesley Kagen delves deep inside the mind of young Tess Finley. Tess tries to sort through her confusion and sorrow surrounding a family tragedy while watching over, and protecting, her emotionally unstable sister, Birdie. The voice and inner thoughts of Tess are so wonderful that I laughed and wept, often while reading the same page. Her observations of the convoluted adult world through which she must navigate are tender and heartbreaking. Coming-of-age stories must be done well in order to feel authentic, and Kagen has crafted a winner in this charming tale. Highly recommended.

  • Carole
    2019-04-08 06:48

    This was a short novella, I wanted to read before I start the follow up novel, The Resurrection Of Tess Blessing. I always enjoy Lesley Kagen's characters, and this funny little Tess made me laugh out loud several times. It's also set back in the 1950s in Milwaukee, which reminds me of when I was growing up. I'm looking forward to reading her next book soon!

  • Martha
    2019-03-29 23:40

    This book is set in 1959 with two sisters Tessie and Birdie. Their father dies unexpectedly while fishing with Tessie, but his body is never found. The story is told by Tessie age 11 and how she tries to convince her younger sister Birdie that their father is indeed gone forever. It was quite an undertaking for her, but she did an excellent job of it.I enjoyed the way it was written and how the story twists and turns. This is a prequel to The Resurrection of Tess Blessing which I am looking forward to reading next. I have also read other books by Lesley Kagen and thoroughly enjoyed them.

  • McGuffy Morris
    2019-04-20 03:23

    The Undertaking of Tess is a poignant novella. This powerful little book gives the background of Tess, telling the story of her childhood. The story of Tess continues in the beautiful novel, The Resurrection of Tess Blessing. I recommend all of Lesley Kagen’s novels. She never disappoints.

  • Jayne Burnett
    2019-04-08 07:43

    Two delightful young girls Tess & Birdie have just lost their father. Their mother is planning to find a new husband. Tess is trying to make it real for her sister that their daddy is dead. A lovely read and I look forward to reading The Resurrection of Tess Blessing

  • Sadie
    2019-04-21 07:33

    Lesley Kagen is a master at writing stories with a cast of characters that you can't help but to love. I fall into her stories with such ease and they always leave an impression on me. The Undertaking of Tess is another wonderful story by an extraordinary author!

  • Janine
    2019-04-04 03:51

    4.5 stars

  • Paula Shulse
    2019-04-20 00:48

    I have to say how much I enjoyed this book. So clever, funny, kind of sad, really cool. I especially enjoyed her child's viewpoint of the adult world and her unflinching understanding of her mother.

  • Julie
    2019-03-28 05:41

    This is a book who's message is about forgiving ourselves and letting go.

  • Fran
    2019-03-28 03:25

    I read...a lot....and Lesley Kagen is one of my very favorite authors. Many thanks to her for providing me a copy of her ebook. To avoid spoilers, I will not summarize the story here as a synopsis is readily available. Her characters are so well-written that regardless of one's upbringing, reading her work is like being swept away on an adventure with a childhood friend. Her stories have it all: compelling characters telling a gripping story, with dashes of humor and mystery to sweeten the deal. If you haven't read this gifted writer, you should. Start at the beginning and read everything she has written. To take liberties with a quote from The Undertaking of Tess, "there's just about nothing more irresistible on God's green Earth than a tale told by" Lesley Kagen.

  • Sharon
    2019-04-19 01:44

    I loved this little book about sisters, Tessie and Birdie. At the very beginning of the book Tessie witnesses an accident that causes her a lot of guilt and confusion about what happened, what didn't happen and her reaction. The sisters are very close and when Birdie is in deep denial regarding the accident, Tessie tries to set her right.I loved them. They reminded me a little of Me & Emma only not as harsh of a story so the whole time I kept thinking I was going to get duped. lolThe story is told through Tessie's eyes -11yrs old- which is very tricky for an author to pull off because most authors don't get it right. Lesley Kagen did.Definite recommend!

  • Susan Peterson
    2019-03-24 23:31

    Delightful storyTess Blessing is fishing with her father when he dies in a tragic accident. After his death it's up to Tess to take care of her little sister, Birdie, who isn't convinced that their daddy died. The girls' mother, Louise, is a mother in name only, so the girls must rely on each other to get through the changes in their lives. Tess is such a character, and the way she uses her sense of humor to help her sister cope is so sweet and poignant. Taking place in 1959, this story is also a nostalgic look back at life in a small town, filled with busybodies and other questionable characters!

  • Sharon
    2019-03-26 01:29

    I won a copy of The Undertaking of Tess during a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. Written from 10 year old Tessie's perspective, this book follows Tess after she witnesses the accidental drowning of her father. This is a well imagined and sometimes humorous look at life through a young child's eyes, one who has to deal with her mother's anger and her sister's fragility. I can visualize the young girl who has to write her lists and who worries that Mom will take her sister to an asylum for refusing to believe that their father has died. This is a sweet story about the realities of life, love, and family, with a great main character and a well written story.

  • Mrs Mommy Booknerd
    2019-04-14 03:26

    Kagen does it again!!!! The Undertaking of Tess is a brilliant and haunting tale of the Finley sisters and their quest to maneuver through their unpredictable world, a world plagued by loss, guilt and in the end growth. Tessie's has her trusty to-do list and she is determined to keep her sister safe and face all the challenges that come her way. With Kagen's keen observation of the spirit of youth, brilliant dialogue and well placed humor The Undertaking of Tess is another 5 star HIT!!! A must read and a PERFECT book club pick. I cannot wait for The Resurrection of Tess Blessing, which is the upcoming novel and companion to The Undertaking of Tess.

  • Brenda Roberson
    2019-04-11 23:35

    THE UNDERTAKING OF TESS is a brilliant and haunting tale of the Finley sisters (Tess and Birdie) in their quest to maneuver through an unpredictable world. Their world is plagued by loss, guilt and in the end growth. Tess has her trusty to-do list, which keeps her "on track" and she is determined to keep her sister (who is mentally challenged) safe and face all the challenges that come her way.This book is told in the view point of a child which makes it a reading challenge at times but endearing all the same. I cannot wait for "The Resurrection of Tess Blessing", which is the upcoming novel and companion to "The Undertaking of Tess".

  • Sue
    2019-04-03 04:41

    A strong four. What an interesting prequel. It took me a bit to get into the rhythm of the book, written from young Tess' viewpoint. However, once I adjusted to that, I absolutely adored the 1950s references, which resonated with my own Minnesota youth (especially the Red Owl). Kagen has the era down perfectly. Can't wait to read "The Resurrection of..." even though it will be my first paper book in years! There was so much about this that triggered memories of my own childhood... I hope my own daughters will read it, though I'm not sure it will affect them the way it did me.

  • PacaLipstick Gramma
    2019-04-20 01:41

    I am a fan of Lesley Kagen's books.The story was entertaining, and I loved the style, but it was almost a carbon copy of her character True in Whistling in the Dark. Written from the perspective of a ten year old girl, from Milwaukee, in 1959.I liked the teaser at the end, of the sequel, The Resurrection of Tess, and will be reading that.

  • Jeanne Collins
    2019-04-17 23:40

    I wish this book had been longer -- because I love reading Leslie Kagen's stories so much! If you live in Milwaukee -- especially Wauwatosa -- it's all there in her stories: Vliet Street, Hawley Road, Meurer's Bakery, Washington Park, Samson the gorilla, Joy Farm . . . pick up one of her books and fall into your past!

  • Jennifer Miroglotta
    2019-04-06 04:25

    This book involves the same characters from The Resurrection of Tess Blessing, but in this book they are children,and we learn everything that led up to the kinds of adults they are in Resurrection. The precocious child narrator Tess is delightful. I love the way she takes responsibility for her younger sister.

  • Holly
    2019-04-09 01:30

    A great short story, I just wish it was an entire novel! The characters are so unique and well written... I mean what's not to love in a main character who is an 11-year-old girl who is obsessed with TO-DO lists, death, and making sure her 10-year-old sister is taken care of. Equal parts funny and heartfelt... I want more of Tess's story!! :)

  • Fayette
    2019-04-09 06:47

    I've read 4 of Lesley Kagen's 6 books and every one of them has been lovely, so I guess I need to order the other two. These are good books to share with your sisters, which I do. This is a short Novella and I was familiar with the characters, so a quick read.

    2019-04-23 06:32

    charming storyThis is a charming and Delightful read. Lesley kagan perfectly captures the naïveté and perception of her characters. I loved it.

  • Carole
    2019-04-12 03:51

    A delightful book with rich characters, humour and a good story. Looking forward to the next book to be released 9 December 2014.

  • Nancy Lehman
    2019-04-17 23:25

    1959, Milwaukee, bittersweet novella, haunting tale of sisters quest to maneuver through their unpredictable world... sequel follows this book "Resurrection of Tess Blessing"

  • Melanie
    2019-04-05 07:51

    wow. just wow. Lesley kagen never disappoints. the voice she gives Tess is amazing.

  • Rebecca
    2019-04-12 06:25

    I loved this so much! The Undertaking of Tess is one of the best reads I have had the pleasure of experiencing all year.

  • Mich
    2019-04-19 05:49

    Great short story. Loved the sisters.

  • Shelley Giusti
    2019-03-24 03:37

    coming soon review