All posts tagged: childhood

Small towns, changing seasons, finding oneself, going back yet moving forward–Susan Bernhard discovers this & more in her debut WINTER LOON

By Leslie Lindsay  A coming-of-age tale of one young man’s family tragedy about resilience, family secrets, dysfunction, and forging a new path.  WINTER LOON is a beautiful as it is stark. Debut novelist Susan Bernhard turns a graceful hand to an emotionally harrowing and highly dysfunctional family using the weather and the natural world as a backdrop. Through the retrospective lens of Wes Ballot, we follow along as his childhood comes to a dreadful end when his mother is drowned in an icy Minnesota lake. Wes is left with his drifter father, who, for the moment isn’t really around. At 15, Wes can’t be left alone in the family’s abandoned cabin in the woods, and so he is shipped off to live with his maternal grandparents in Montana, who aren’t too thrilled he’s there. Grandparents Ruby and Gip have remained embittered and cold to one another–and the world–what’s worse, Wes is forced to live in his mother’s old bedroom, still decorated as if she were 15 and living at home. But she’s dead and Wes misses his …

Wednesdays with Writers: Jane Corry talks about her second novel, BLOOD SISTERS, how glass as art is both beautiful yet lethal, the bond of sisters, her love for her grandchildren & watercolors and so much more

Three girls. Two sisters. One  dead. BLOOD SISTERS is a tangled web of adolescent deception looking from the present to the past with an eye toward justice.  Having read–and enjoyed–Corry’s first book, MY HUSBAND’S WIFE (January 2017), I was super-excited to get my hands on this gorgeous book, BLOOD SISTERS (January 2018). The beginning few pages completely pulled me in: a woman in her early-mid 30’s who happens to teach stained glass at a local college. BLOOD SISTERS is a slightly different kind of tale—one that is ripe with old secrets, sibling rivalry and justice. BLOOD SISTERS is a split-perspective of two adult sisters in the present looking back at a horrific accident that left Kitty paralyzed with a traumatic brain injury (TBI), unable to speak, and aggressive/hostile at times. Kitty lives in an institution and has nearly every need tended to. Meanwhile, Alison is living in London with one eye over her shoulder: she’s waiting for the bottom to drop from an event that happened when the girls were teenagers.  Just what happened?  That story is …

Wednesdays with Writers: Poetic and lyrical Rene Denfeld on our fascination with lost children, memory, imagination, the Oregon wilderness, and so much more in THE CHILD FINDER

By Leslie Lindsay  An exquisitely written tale of s little girl lost, her striking imagination and how we often have to be lost in order to be found.  I found THE CHILD FINDER to be disturbing and haunting and I was absolutely spell-bound, not wanting to sit the book down. In fact, I didn’t; I read THE CHILD FINDER in one day. While the story is ultimately bleak (there’s hope, though), it’s dazzlingly written. It’s lush, melodic, while at the same time, stark. A bit about the plot: Maddie Culver goes missing in the Oregon wilderness while her family is cutting down their Christmas tree. It’s been three years. Her parents are beside themselves and insist she’s still alive. But three years is a long time. The Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny ability to find lost children. Diving into the icy, remote Skookum Forest, Naomi attempts to uncover all possibilities, unearthing old mines, digging up old homesteads, and stalking out the corner grocery.  And then another–unrelated case–presents itself. Naomi doesn’t like taking …