Leni Allbright and her mother live at the mercy of her post-Vietnam war father, Ernt, who has serious PTSD. Set in the 1970s, the book follows the family in their move to remote Alaska after Ernt inherits land and a ramshackle cabin. Convinced that Alaska will make everything better, the family sets off posthaste for the northern frontier. Ernt, though, has demons that are impossible to overcome and drinking doesn’t help. He abuses his wife when he’s in a dark mood. Alaska has lots of dark, challenging times with the long, dark winters. That sets him off at even more regular intervals. Leni doesn’t know a different life, but as she grows through her teenage years, she is pretty sure that her family’s lifestyle is not to be emulated. Ernt kicks into survivalist mode with the help of like-minded neighbors in Alaska.
The bright spots of this book are Alaskan neighbor, Large Marge, along with the one room schoolhouse where Leni can escape sure the days. The school, though, is short on other teens as only 3 attend there. Matthew Walker becomes a pal for Leni and eventually ends up as her love interest.
This was a page-turner book with blackness on so many pages. The reader roots for Leni to escape the madness that is her home. Her mother is not blind to the abuse, but she is tangled in the cycles of her husband’s abuse; sure that he really loves them.
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.
Nurse practitioner Mia Robinson had a quick jolt to adulthood when she took on raising her 10 year old sister at her own 20 years of age. Fast forward about 10 years to Lucy’s time to make her own life. Mia wants to make sure that Lucy is making wise decisions; she’s protective with good right. It’s also a time for Mia, though, to get her own God-directed path in line. Into the picture enters Jake with PTSD who is great friends with Lucy’s guy, Sam. Mia wrestles with the missionary plans she has had for years.
I found the story to have more depth than expected and I enjoyed it greatly. Thanks to Bethany House for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.
Mimi Miller of Miller’s Valley grows up in a small community with strong ties. Her family homestead is located in the flood plain and Mimi in sure, in high school, that the government has a plan to slowly flood out the residents. Mimi’s parents are at odds over leaving the farm. And, then there’s Aunt Ruth who is reclusive and lives in a small house on the same property. Mimi’s brother, Tommy, has a learning disability and then PTSD from his military service and the war and never regains his place. The older brother, Ed, is the first to get out of the valley and his perspective is more accepting, more like the mother’s point-of-view.
I thought Mimi and her mom were both very strong women. As a nurse, mom sees more than most and is able to keep confidences. She doesn’t speak out about Mimi’s life choices, but she sure pushes for education. I think mom has a tough life with a loving but stubborn husband. Mimi gets strength from her mom and compassion from her dad.
Then there are the childhood friends of LaRhonda (what a pain!) and Donald (what a joy!).
Anna Quindlen has once again written a saga about regular family life, with its bumps, bruises and joys. Pick up the book and enjoy the ride. Thanks to NetGalley for providing me an ARC for a review in my own words.
Author Meg Moseley weaves an interesting story of Laura Gantt and her parents. Vietnam war memories plague her father, Elliott, and stress from supporting him leads Laura’s mother, Jess, to make some unexpected choices. Back in Georgia to settle her mother’s estate, Laura along with her high school boyfriend (and soulmate) Sean pursue a mystery of Laura’s presumed dead father. There’s a lot of unresolved anger and unfinished business in this story. It shows how people harbor secrets and how frustration festers through the years. There’s also amazing forgiveness and love that ties the folks of the community together. I enjoyed the book. I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review.