In Meg Moseley's Appalachian tale, Laura Gantt returns to her hometown to take care of her recently deceased mother's house and belongings. Not long after she arrives, her old beau and friend Sean Halloran informs her of the rumors spread throughout town - that her father, who drowned in a fishing accident years ago, has supposedly been seen on multiple occasions since her mother's death. With the gang all home again - Laura, her best friend Cassie, and Sean - they start looking back into secrets from the past while trying to balance the problems and heartaches of the present.
While I would not necessarily categorize this as a suspense, there were certainly moments of suspense to the mystery. One scene especially, though it did not seem particularly ominous at the time, becomes spine-chilling in retrospect. Until the very end when All Is Revealed, I spent the story waffling over whether to believe Laura's father was alive or not. Moseley does a good job leaving clues so that either conclusion could be possible.
I had found the story a bit slow at first - the search for Laura's dad was not getting anywhere, and to Sean's distress neither was the romance - but when the clues started adding up, it fully captured my attention. Like in any good mystery, things that did not seem so important at first gain significance, and seemingly random scattered events prove to have a purpose.
As children, unless our parents have major issues (like Laura's dad's PTSD or Sean's dad's abuse), we tend to think of them as close to perfect, a perception that lasts into adulthood. Then one day we discover they were not saints - they made mistakes too. Through the story, Laura and Cassie discover more about their parents' imperfections. It hurts, to see health go rapidly downhill or to think one may have been abandoned by choice instead of death, and a myriad of other problems they discover - but in spite of the pain, they lose no love for their parents. Instead, they become all the more precious for their frailty. I thought it was a good message that in spite of the imperfections of their parents, the children still chose to honor them.
While the main points of view belong to Laura and Sean, Cassie also plays a part, and I would not have minded if her story had been a little more prevalent, though it is enjoyable as it is. The three all share some traits in common, but each brings a unique perspective to the story, with different personalities and circumstances backing their point of view, and I found different aspects of each easy to relate to. It is a solid, reflective novel. 4 out of 5 stars!
Thank you Blogging for Books for providing a free copy of the novel for the purpose of review; I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions are my own.
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