It may have been a bit too early to pick up this book; having finished reading it, I am now convinced this book would make a fantastic holiday read.
The story takes place in a small town, Mt. Jefferson back in 1958, with an intense scene depicting a shoplift by a teenage girl in a department store just a few days leading up to Christmas.
The description is so gripping and excellent that I was completely swept by it in an instant. It makes a perfect entrance to the story that beautifully entwines the secrets and angst of three families and the unforgettable memories which Walter Selman holds deep down his heart over the span of fifty years.
Nothing extraordinary or far-fetched happens throughout the book; it involves normal people whom you may find in your everyday life – those with secrets which can never be confided in to others, or those having affairs and are constantly afraid of having their relationships exposed.
Everything barely hangs on a perfect balance. Yet they are, at the same time, at constant risk of being unearthed. With the bad news involving Walter, the seams start to fray and the characters desperately try to patch them up, attempting to keep them under wraps as they have been .
Like I said, the description is just superb and compelling. Although the story involves some inner turmoil and anxieties, the writing never gets over-exaggerated; something like tranquility runs through the entire book and it also heightens the sense of suspension by closing the chapters with many unanswered questions up in the air, leaving us wondering “what?! What’s gonna happen? What’s gonna happen next??! Brilliant.
I may be giving the wrong impression about this book; it’s defintely NOT all about dark secrets or skeltons in the closet; it’s also a story of forgiveness and redemption. The sermon scene in the church best describes that aspect.
To be honest, I wasn’t expected to be drawn by this book so much; it is compelling, riveting, I simply couldn’t wait to wrap up work and go home so that I’d get to read it.
The epilogue particularly jumps out and I let out a cry of surprise when I found out who the narrator was. Again, it came as quite a surprise, but I will keep it under my hat here – you must figure it out on your own.
This is arguably one of the most entertaining books that I have read this year. I highly recommend it.