Book review: ‘Safe From The Sea’ by Peter Geye

Moody. Atmospheric. Unforgettable. In this stunning debut from author Peter Geye, a father and son are reconciled — and laid open, bare, along the frozen shores of Lake Superior in Minnesota.

Noah Torr has long stood in the shadow of his father, Olaf, a Norwegian immigrant and barrel of a man who has spent his life and career aboard ships transporting cargo on Lake Superior. Like a man returning home from war, Olaf retreated inward and into bottles after surviving a terrible shipwreck that claimed the lives of nearly all his fellow crew. When Noah could escape from Misquah, Minn., he did — and married Natalie, the well-to-do go-getter who now approaches her infertility issues with the same fervency she does her work.

Awash in his own sea of indecisions and missteps, Noah isn’t expecting a call from his aging father. It’s been five years since they last saw each other, and their time together then was painful and brief. But Olaf, after decades, is finally in need of assistance. In a pained voice Noah can barely hear, he asks his only son to come home.

Peter Geye’s Safe From The Sea offers just what its lovely, cold cover suggests: a turbulent tale of a father’s love; a depiction of the emotional and physical landscapes that divide us from one another, then reunite us once more. Though emotionally difficult, it’s a book I savored and found over all too quickly.

From the moment I was introduced to Noah, I felt a strong affinity for him. It was obvious the years had taken their toll — just as they had on his father, a man I was determined to dislike but ultimately could not. Olaf — reticent; headstrong; self-sufficient — isn’t accustomed to asking anyone for anything. But in reaching his hand out to Noah, and doing it on his own terms, I felt I could accept and love him. Just like his children do.

In telling the story of the Torr family, Geye chooses each word carefully. Never once did the pacing falter; never once was I weighed down with detail, with too much superfluous information. We’re told what it is we need to know. Often, this irks me — I mean, how soft was a pillow? How bright was the light? How warm was a kiss, or comforting an embrace? But you know, in reading Safe From The Sea, it never occurred to me to think about what was missing. All I could do was feel grateful for all I was given.

Like Noah and Natalie’s relationship, for example. Loaded down with the stress of trying to start a family, the couple didn’t seem to realize that they already had: with each other. Watching their interactions move from strained to tender was very emotional, and I found any dislike I had for Natalie and her perceived selfishness melting away. Despite everything, they understood each other. They longed for each other. It was realistic and heartbreaking and wonderful.

Olaf’s story of the Ragnarøk — the gigantic ship he was aboard when it sank — was mesmerizing. In Geye’s capable hands, the Rag’s demise took on a mythical quality — not unlike its namesake, a series of “future events” foretold in Old Norse mythology. During Ragnarøk, the myth holds, the earth will sink into the sea before “resurfac[ing] anew and fertile.” While the crew floundered in a terrible snowstorm, I felt the wind whipping back my hair and stinging my eyes. The fear, turmoil and ultimate determination to live was Olaf’s story to share, and I loved that Geye let us hear it in his own words. And that, finally, he shared it with his son.

It’s been a long time since I found a book that so moved me — a book I couldn’t help talking about with friends and coworkers. My fourth read for the Indie Lit Awards, I didn’t expect to fall so in love with a novel set in a freezing landscape about a disjointed family — but that’s precisely what happened. I loved that it was so different from anything else I’ve read in recent months. I loved that I fell in love with the characters . . . even the difficult ones.

It was an easy story to love.

For readers interested in family sagas, maritime histories (boats! high seas!) or profound looks at fatherhood and love, look no further than Safe From The Sea. My heart won’t be the same again.

5 out of 5!

ISBN: 160953008X ♥ GoodreadsLibraryThingAmazonAuthor Website
Personal copy purchased by Meg

Book review: ‘Dangerous Neighbors’ by Beth Kephart

For twin sisters Katherine and Anna, life in Philadelphia is full of change and a continual quest for progress — especially in 1876. Progress for the 16-year-olds comes in the form of meeting new people . . . and forging new matches. Though identical, Anna exudes a confidence and beauty which her sister cannot imitate — a fact that becomes apparent after Anna’s sudden death.

Heartbroken and sieged by grief, Katherine turns away from the one person who could best relate to losing her beloved sister: Anna’s secret love, Bennett, a kind but poor baker’s son. Not approved as a suitor by the girls’ wealthy parents, Anna carries on her clandestine affair with Bennett and ropes cautious, play-by-the-rules Katherine into the ordeal. After her sister dies, Katherine is wading a sea of regret over not telling her parents the truth. Or someone the truth . . . before it was too late.

Beth Kephart’s Dangerous Neighbors is a slip of a novel that packs an emotional punch, and I don’t think I was ready for the raw glimpse into what it really means to be “my sister’s keeper.” At less than 200 pages, the novel feels like a Polaroid snapshot — and focuses exclusively on what has brought Katherine to a rooftop with no intention of returning to the ground the same way she came up.

From the start, Kephart’s lyrical language had me completely entangled in the twins’ story. As readers, we know Anna is gone from the very beginning — but the circumstances remain a mystery. I liked that the facts were revealed slowly, like the unfolding of paper, and that we’re introduced to each character in their own, sweet time.

I’ve yet to encounter another novel that so perfectly captures the painful, heartache-inducing way in which sisters must grapple with one another moving forward in their lives — and, in the process, pulling away from one another. With a sister three years my junior, I felt every word of what Kephart expressed about Katherine’s perception of Bennett was a “threat” to the safe, secure and happy private life she had with Anna. For the first time in their lives, Katherine was no longer the most important person in the world to her sister . . . and, when that happens, it breaks your heart. Of course you want your sister to be happy, and of course you want her to be loved. But that necessitates losing her a little, too. Katherine lost Anna in so many ways long before she was really gone — and that’s the saddest part of the story.

Dangerous Neighbors is a novel of change; of encroaching modernity; of growing up; of grief. It’s Katherine’s story of attempting to emerge from the darkest part of her life, but it’s Anna’s story, too — Anna’s vitality; her joy; but her cruelty, too. It’s a glimpse at life in Philadelphia just a little more than a decade after the end of the American Civil War, and a look at what it means to try and protect those we hold dear. Can we really be our sisters’ keepers, the ones on whom they rely? Is it fair to even ask that of a sibling — that we care more for someone else as much as, if not more, than we care for ourselves?

Katherine’s parents asked that of her — and more. And Anna, in turn, was selfish and often unkind. I worried endlessly for Katherine but felt less sympathy for Anna, though I know she was simply a 16-year-old girl lost in her first love. It was Katherine that suffered so Anna could be happy, and Katherine left to deal with the aftermath of her sister’s decisions. It was Katherine I wanted to befriend and help through the darkness, and I couldn’t help but feel angry with Anna for being . . . well, for being Anna.

After finishing the story, I closed it and sat back for a beat or two. I liked the book, yes, and found myself tearing through it at break-neck speed — especially when I thought I was getting close to learning what really happened to Anna. But after it was all over, I couldn’t help but feel vaguely unsatisfied . . . mostly because I wanted to learn more about William, a sort of 1876-version of an “animal whisperer,” and the burgeoning feelings Katherine had for him. I wanted to see Katherine happy, particularly after everything she’d been through, but I received only a hint of the resolution I sought.

Still, that didn’t cloud my enjoyment of the novel as a whole. Though certainly not an upbeat, wild ride, Dangerous Neighbors is a deeply introspective, thought-provoking story filled with memorable details and dimensional characters. It’s also my first read from Kephart, a popular young adult author, and I definitely don’t intend for it to be my last.

Fans of historical fiction will find a philosophical story with excellent atmosphere and historical details that had me Googling the Philadelphia Centennial Exhibition on my lunch break. Though the book is focused on two teenage girls, I hope that won’t dissuade readers not accustomed to checking out teen fiction from picking this one up. There’s nothing pedestrian about the writing, which was quite literary, and it makes a fine addition to the young adult historical fiction genre. More than worth the afternoon it will take you to pour through it . . . and made me want to clutch my own sister a little tighter.

4 out of 5!

ISBN: 1606840800 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by publicist

Book review: ‘Lost’ by Jacqueline Davies

For 16-year-old Essie Rosenfeld, life in New York City revolves around a slowly-moving spiral of home, caring for her young sister and working tirelessly at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory, where she earns just enough money to help support her family — and still have a few coins leftover for her true passion: hat-making.

It’s 1911 and the Rosenfelds, still grieving the loss of Essie’s father, are struggling to stay afloat. Essie’s mother has deteoriated into a shell of a woman, leaving her eldest daughter to care for Zelda, the baby she was carrying when her husband died. Exhausted and bitter, Mrs. Rosenfeld pushes her duties onto her eldest — who fights, also, to keep her younger brother in line.

It’s in the midst of this push-and-pull chaos that Essie meets Harriet, a young woman who arrives at the factory looking as out-of-place as a diamond on the factory floor. Essie is told to teach Harriet what she knows about the construction of shirtwaists — and Harriet, scared but desperate for employment, does her best to keep up. As their friendship grows, Harriet and Essie begin to lift one another from the frightened malaise that has taken over their lives — and maybe, possibly, give them the strength to move forward. Until the unimaginable happens.

Jacqueline Davies’ Lost is everything I just described, but it’s so, so much more than that, too. We can sit and classify the novel in a variety of ways — historical fiction; young adult — but nothing can truly come close to what actually happens here. I started the book at 8 p.m. on a weeknight, intending to just read until I got drowsy, and put it back down at 2 a.m. when I knew full well I’d have to be up in four hours. I read it straight through — without pause. And if I had it to read all over again, I’d probably do the same.

As readers, we understand from the get-go that Essie has recently endured some sort of trauma — and that her home life isn’t exactly as she’s describing. We know, basically, that there has been a death in the family . . . just as we know that Essie is unwilling, or unable, to recognize it. When Harriet arrives on the scene, Essie is struggling to piece together her memory from recent weeks — and to begin to understand what has happened to her.

More than anything, the novel felt like an exploration of grief . . . and as such, you’d expect it to be depressing, plodding and painful. But Davies writes with a light hand, showing us shades of Essie and revealing facts over time — never letting us get muddled down in the shadowy details. Each character became so real to me, vivid and beyond description — and even those I wanted to dislike, like Essie’s mother, were sympathetic figures. While Zelda was wild and “spoiled,” I couldn’t help but fall in love with her, too — especially since Essie clearly loved her beyond reproach. The love that Mrs. Rosenfeld couldn’t provide fell to Essie to give, and she had it in spades.

The juxtaposition between the boring, dull work Essie performed in the factory and the whimsical, imaginative and fun of her hat-making was interesting, too, and was the perfect way to showcase how talented Essie was — though her life in New York kept her mired in anything but creative pursuits. It was impossible not to want a hat from Essie — the devoted sister, the dutiful daughter. And, as in Harriet’s case, the loyal friend.

As a modern woman, factory life is impossible for me to imagine: the incredibly long hours in a hot, dirty factory, often without breaks; the painful, time-consuming work; the terrible lighting conditions; sharing a work space with so many other tired, exhausted women, and for so little pay. I work in a comfortable, air-conditioned office, where I’m compensated well for my work. I have a college degree. I get a lunch break. And at the end of the day? Well, if I ever got tired of what I do — or felt like I was being treated unfairly — I could leave. Get a new job. Move.

For someone like Essie? Well, that was out of the question. And when Harriet comes onto the scene — Harriet, the enigma — you realize just how out of the question it was for her, too. Learning about Harriet throughout the course of the novel, including the own secrets she wore close to her heart, was fascinating.

In fact, that’s a good word for Lost: fascinating. Full of rich imagery and unforgettable passages. And though it’s hard for me to classify in a few simple words, I’d recommend it very highly to fans of historical fiction and young adult — or anyone looking for a heartbreaking story. Not a novel I’ll soon forget.

4.5 out of 5!

ISBN: 0761455353 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Website
Copy borrowed from my local library

Lost was read in conjunction with Nerds Heart YA, a tournament showcasing under represented young adult literature. Check back tomorrow for my review of Julie Hearn’s Rowan The Strange, and then visit to find out which of the two novels will advance to the next round! My decision will be made with Nicole of Linus’s Blanket and posted tomorrow evening.

Book review: ‘The One That I Want’ by Allison Winn Scotch

Since the death of her mother more than a decade ago, Tilly Farmer has worked hard to keep her fledgling family together. Through her father’s alcoholism and small town gossip, Tilly and sisters Luanne and Darcy have struggled to stay close and united. And her anchor since high school has been Tyler, her all-American, rugged and sports fanatical husband — and her best friend Susanna, a woman on whom she has relied heavily over the years.

Now, at 32, Tilly is happy to report she is happy — her father is sober; she loves her job as a guidance counselor at Westlake High, where she passes wisdom to America’s youth; she and Tyler are trying for a baby. Content in the town in which she grew up and never dreaming of anything more, Tilly would proudly proclaim her life as “perfect.” Maybe not fantastic, maybe not incredible, but good. Content.

In the hot, steamy days of summer, Tilly meanders to the local fair, where she glides into a tent manned by Ashley Simmons. As Tilly awkwardly updates her old friend on her life, Ashley sneers at Tilly’s pat answers and feigned enthusiasm for what others would see as a hum-drum existence. What Tilly would see as a hum-drum existence — if only she could. “There’s more to life than husbands and babies, Tilly,” Ashley says, and with a flash, Tilly can see that, too. In fact, Tilly can see lots of things — before they happen. And it’s going to change everything.

Allison Winn Scotch’s The One That I Want is all about those dreams deferred — the hopes we have for ourselves when we’re still fresh and young, and then the quiet lives we eventually settle for. Some of the time. Beyond that, it’s the story of a family — a wounded family — and how they must come together, get angry and really talk before things can get better.

What I liked about the story was our anchor, Tilly, a woman who fills her days heading up the prom committee and choosing the school musical — Grease! — because she’s unable to put the past behind her. Aware that her marriage is far from sizzling, it’s still impossible to compute that Tyler, a man she’s loved since she was sixteen, is now just a bump on the couch in front of ESPN. Fixing others’ problems seems to be better than confronting her own — until she has no choice but to acknowledge them. With Ashley’s gift of “clarity,” Tilly finally grows a backbone.

The dynamics between the three Everett sisters really made the novel for me, illuminating how complicated and awesome it is to be a sibling. After her mother’s death, Tilly felt responsible for the younger girls — then felt terribly guilty when she couldn’t protect them. This has been a vicious, repeating pattern over the years, this desire to change what cannot be unchanged and foresee bad things before they happen. Ironic, then, considering the “powers” Tilly suddenly has.

While The One That I Want has a touch of that magical realism we usually see in books by Sarah Addison Allen, I didn’t question Tilly’s new abilities. Within the context of the story, they definitely worked, adding a new dimension to a familiar plot. I found the characters and dialogue realistic and could relate to each of them in turn. While it irked me how much the girls maligned their father, especially rebellious Darcy, I couldn’t blame them for their mistrust.

I read the book quickly and enjoyed watching the burgeoning relationships, but the destruction of others was difficult to experience. Scotch did a remarkable job of documenting breakdowns in a realistic fashion, but it felt a bit like watching a trainwreck. Maybe that was the point. Regardless, my stomach was knotted on more than one occasion — and that took my enjoyment level down a notch.

For fans of family dynamics, women’s fiction and contemporary dramas, The One That I Want would make a fine addition to your to-be-read stack. Just be prepared for a few twists and a little sadness before the sunshine, too.

4 out of 5!

ISBN: 0307464504 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Website

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Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours

Book review: ‘Life After Yes’ by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

Fresh from a weekend in Paris and with a sparkly new engagement ring on her finger, lawyer Prudence Quinn O’Malley should be floating on cloud nine — dancing through the streets singing Disney tunes, twirling in a fit of ecstasy, calling everyone she knows to squeal and cry and start planning every minor detail.

But the reality is that while madly in love with Sage, a kind-hearted i-banker with whom she lives in New York City, Quinn is plagued by doubts as to what this new “yes” — to a new life, a new world, a new marriage — really entails.

Still grieving the loss of her father, a barrel of a man who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, Quinn feels adrift. As a high-powered lawyer at a major firm, she’s used to being rational — examining the evidence, gathering as much information as she can. And as Quinn begins to take a hard look at what her life has become and what it means to love, lose and move forward, she runs headfirst into an emotional journey that will change everything.

Every now and then, a novel like Aidan Donnelley Rowley’s Life After Yes finds its way into my life, and it’s moments when I’m reading a book like this — where I feel like my own face is reflected back at me — that I experience what I can only call literary magic.

Maybe it’s that Quinn is a mere two years older than me, grappling with mortality and love and “prudence,” with safety. Maybe it’s that the book is set and firmly ensconced in New York City — and I started it on the train ride back from a long weekend there. Maybe it’s that, as I was reading last night, I had my own “Sage” napping next to me with one arm firmly around my back. And I felt happy. And safe.

Whatever it was, I’ll say this loud and proud: Life After Yes spoke to me. Shouted at me, really, in a way that I haven’t experienced with a novel in a long, long time. For all her moral issues, uncertainties, flaws, contradictions and need for direction, Quinn — or Prudence, as some know her — felt like a real person. Human. Blood. She felt like me.

I sped through this novel in record time, unwilling to put it down, and found myself dog-earing passage after passage about happiness, love, moving forward. Rowley’s prose was deft and poignant, always striking the perfect balance between telling and showing. Nothing is worse than a book that’s all thought and no action, a story where I’m told to care about the characters simply because it’s easier for the author.

This wasn’t that book.

Two of my favorite quotes, because my review can’t — and won’t — do this excellent book justice:

Growing up doesn’t just happen. It’s not a fact; it’s a decision.

This is how happiness comes — in small moments, in fierce flashes. It’s not a state of being, not remotely permanent.

What could have become a sad, maudlin tale — especially given Quinn’s emotional vulernability — became, instead, a story of perseverance, of unexpected moments of joy, of choosing happiness instead of just waiting for it to wash over you. Life After Yes also served as a big “screw you!” to conventional ideas about what our lives “should” be — filled with prudence, balance, careful thinking — and not being afraid to take the giant leaps. Those are the ones that matter.

Do I sound silly, over-the-top and way too excited about this book? Probably. But that’s just because I feel silly, over-the-top and excited just thinking about it. It’s rare to find a novel that seems to stretch its thin, cool fingers into the cockles of your heart and pull out every little thought and doubt you have in there, but Aidan Donnelley Rowley did that. For me.

Fans of women’s fiction, family dynamics, contemporary fiction, just plain good books — pick this one up. I think she’ll do that for you, too.

5 out of 5!

ISBN: 0451227999 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Blog

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Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours

Book review: ‘Raven Stole The Moon’ by Garth Stein

On the day she leaves Seattle for Wrangell, Alaska — site of a terrible tragedy that occurred years before — Jenna Rosen has snapped. It’s not enough that it’s two years to the day since her son Bobby drowned; she must also be stuck at a party with associates she despises, putting on a happy face while attendees whisper about the Rosens as her husband, Robert, schmoozes and acts like she’s insane for not being “over it.”

It’s also that time has marched forward for everyone but Jenna, pushing them all toward a new life — a new world — when her own resolved issues stay firmly on the surface, like raw wounds. Though everyone believed Bobby drowned in an accident on Thunder Bay, his body was never recovered — and Jenna is unable to find any peace or closure over his passing. To her, her 6-year-old son has still vanished. And something pulls her back to Alaska, setting off a chain of events and bringing to light pieces of native folklore she never thought possible.

Garth Stein’s Raven Stole The Moon is a contemporary novel set against an interesting backdrop: the beliefs and ancient folklore of the Tlingit people. As Jenna traipses through Wrangell and meets an interesting cast of characters — including Oscar, a dog who suddenly follows her everywhere, and Eddie, a man who befriends and shelters her, no questions asked — we begin to learn of a supernatural phenomenon which is intriguing and spooky. What did happen to Bobby?

I’m one of the few people in the world who has not read Stein’s The Art Of Racing In The Rain, so his writing style was completely new to me. Characterized by short sentences, his prose comes out in a staccato-like rhythm that took a little getting used to. It certainly wasn’t bad, but I wasn’t accustomed to getting the stream-of-consciousness-like details the author shared with us. Told in third person but focused primarily on Jenna and her viewpoint, the book hammered out important tidbits in a style pretty distinct to Stein.

After I hit roughly the 60-page mark, I was hooked — completely drawn into the tale and desperate to find out what happened to Bobby. Stein gives us just enough detail to sustain the mystery without dragging it all out too long, frustrating readers who must go hundreds of pages without new information. As we learned more and more about certain spirits known to inhabit Alaska and meet David Livingstone, a native shaman, I could feel goosebumps erupt on my skin.

I didn’t find the book to be the “horror” story some claim, but nor is it a tepid tale of family or forgiveness. It’s something in between. Relying plenty on religious and supernatural elements and requiring the reader to suspend disbelief for a sizeable chunk of the story, Raven Stole The Moon was a riveting novel — and even though I didn’t particularly like Jenna or Robert, I was unable to put the book down. It’s pretty rare that I’m so apathetic to two of the main characters and still enjoy the novel. Why? Because though I didn’t feel for them, I felt with them — and I knew that, in the wake of their son’s death, how could I judge them? I couldn’t. And didn’t. I just read their story through as unbiased a lens as I could.

Originally published in 1998, the book maintains a sort of innocence before the dawn of Google searches and iPhones. As Jenna disappears from the lush, dull world she inhabits in Washington, we’re able to remember how much easier it was to “go off the grid” before we were all accessible 24/7 via devices we keep in our pockets and palms. Stein notes in the afterword that he could have changed the timeframe and updated these references but chose not to, and I agree with the decision to keep the book firmly rooted in the late 1990s. It made me feel — dare I say it? — nostalgic.

Fans of contemporary fiction with a heavy mysterious, supernatural element will find plenty to enjoy here, and probably much for discussion. Though I was happy with the book’s resolution for the most part, those closing pages? Makes me wonder . . .

4 out of 5!

ISBN: 0061806382 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Website
Review copy provided by publicist

Book review: ‘The Summer We Fell Apart’ by Robin Antalek

Life in the Haas household was anything but normal. For the four children of Marilyn, an aging actress, and Richard, a once-successful playwright, it’s more about existing than thriving. Oldest daughter Kate is forced to take over the parenting duties of Finn, the oldest son who drinks to excess daily, even as a teen; George, the sensitive gay son who most relates to their distant mother; and Amy, the young artist — and “caboose” of the family — who becomes George’s closest friend and confidante.

Alternating between each of the four children’s viewpoints with a bonus glimpse through Marilyn’s eyes, we examine life before, during and after the death of Richard, a figure who looms large in the story — despite the fact that he never physically appears in the text except through snatches of memories and, later, after passing. The children are the “fruit” of Richard’s failed life; the products of his neglect. Of the four siblings, each aches separately for a childhood they never had and for parents they never understood or trusted; these pains carry them into their turbulent adulthoods, where every sibling must make peace with the past. And maybe, along the way, learn to love — and trust — others. And each other.

Robin Antalek’s The Summer We Fell Apart was, quite simply, stunning. Books with multiple narrators typically leave me feeling detached and disjointed as a reader, unable to get close to any one particular character. But not so here, where we learn the quirks and backstories of each Haas child as we travel through time and space with them. In a story that could easily have become horrifying or worse, I never sunk into depression as I followed the kids from New York to California and back. My heart broke when theirs broke; my face creased when they smiled. So obviously so broken, Amy, George, Finn and Kate desperately needed to find somewhere to belong.

Their parents affected each of them differently, but the profound scars were lasting and obvious. Of all the stories, Finn’s probably caused me the most pain. A young man who battles addiction the entire story, I kept waiting for him to have that great epiphany and begin to heal his life. But as things became worse and worse, I really wondered if he would ever be capable of change. Finn’s chapter is the most graphic, detailing his sexual exploits and need to do anything for a drink. The time he spends with sister Kate was gut-wrenching.

And speaking of Kate — she’s definitely the character I thoroughly believed I would hate but, of course, I couldn’t. And don’t. Who could fault a woman who spends her entire adolescence cleaning up for her sad, bitter and angry teenage siblings — and then is expected to clean up their messes in adulthood, too? As much as I wanted her to become the personal savior of her siblings, how could she? Who could blame her for running away, wanting to carve out her own life and gain some control over her own life? Who could fault her the success she earned?

The Summer We Fell Apart is a carefully crafted tapestry ripe with atmosphere, symbolism and incredible imagery. A family drama in the very best sense of the description, I couldn’t put this book down. It succeeds where, for me, books like Hyatt Bass’s The Embers — a book similar in content, down to the writer father — failed: it made me care, and not just about the “right” people. About everyone. A fantastic debut novel I would highly recommend to lovers of literary fiction and those ready to delve into the hard, blackened core of a one family — and maybe emerge on the other side.

4.75 out of 5!

ISBN: 0451227999 ♥ Purchase from AmazonAuthor Website

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Review copy provided by TLC Book Tours