I started Full of Beans because I assumed it was a sequel to Jennifer L. Holm’s Turtle in Paradise (which I thoroughly enjoyed). It was quickly apparent, however, that that wasn’t really it at all, and so I spent most of the book considering it a companion novel. Different protagonists, same setting–it looked like a duck (so to speak), and so I assumed (which, of course, one should never do) that that’s what it was. It took until the very end for me to realize that it’s actually closer to a prequel, which tempts me to re-read Turtle in a quest for new insights. (Because, you know, I need more books on my to-read list.)
I have no issue with varying relationships between and among books at all, mind–I just didn’t look closely enough at this one initially. Thankfully, it didn’t make much difference to my enjoyment of it. Beans is a prickly but (ultimately) lovable character, and the story intertwined with his–the salvation of Key West during the Depression–was a fascinating one about which I knew absolutely nothing. Jennifer L. Holm’s genius lies, in part, in her ability to use her family history as literary inspiration, and it’s won her more than one Newbery Award. If you like historical fiction, make it a point to read hers.
You won’t be disappointed.