by Chris Bohjalian
After her baptism by Reverend Stephen Drew, Alice Hayward goes home and is killed by her abusive husband, who then kills himself. Heather Laurent, a well known author of books about angels, befriends Alice's 15-year-old daughter Katie, since she experienced her own parents' murder-suicide. Questions around the murder-suicide arise when certain secrets are exposed.
Aghhh! I couldn't decide whether to give this a 3 (it was okay) or a 4 (I enjoyed it). I switched back and forth between the two ratings while reading. At times I enjoyed the writing and characters and storyline, and at other times I was bored and felt like not enough was happening. I did feel empathy towards Heather Laurent and enjoyed the depth of emotion when she discussed her childhood, but when she talked about angels (which was often), I thought she was a nut! Also, her appearance after the murders was so random. Hi, you don't know me, but I'm a famous author and I want to be your friend.
The teenager, Katie, was strange, and I didn't find the things she said to be realistic, which is surprising considering Bohjalian got input for the book from his own teenage daughter.
My favorite character was Catherine, the state prosecutor, and my least favorite was Stephen Drew, the reverend.
The storyline was interesting for the most part, with its relationship twists and possible scenarios of "who dunnit," but I didn't love it like others did. Which isn't surprising considering the only popular books I've loved that everyone else raved about are The Help and The Book Thief. Guess I'm a pretty tough customer...lol.
Interesting tidbit and wondering how it may have affected my review... A friend (not a close friend, but she was in our circle and lived only a block away) was killed a few years ago by her husband after finding out she was going to divorce him and that she was interested in another man. He then killed himself. Their two boys (10 and 12) were upstairs when it happened, and one of them heard the gunshot and found them both dead.
Do I Recommend?
Hard to say. If you are a Bohjalian fan, I'm sure you've already read it or plan to - and you should - but I won't recommend this to anyone I know.
3/5 (It was okay)
S. Krishna's Books
Thoughts of Joy (This blogger agreed with me)
Girls With Books