Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Pieces We Keep

Title:  The Pieces We Keep
Author:  Kristina McMorris
Publication Information:  Kensington Books. 2013. 464 pages.

Book Source:  I received this book as a publisher's galley through NetGalley free of cost in exchange for an honest review.

Favorite Quote:  "She had learned there was more to our world than what any of us could see or fully comprehend. That's when it hit her. Maybe heaven was much like a lake at dawn, offering a different view depending on the person. Maybe heaven entailed more than a soul residing in a single place but instead having pieces of yourself spread among the hearts and memories of the people you touched."

The time is 2012. The place is Portland, Oregon. Audra is a single mother, still trying to recover from the devastating death of her husband Devon. She is attempting to rebuild a life for herself and her seven year old son Jack. Meredith and Robert are Devon's parents attempting to hold on to their son's memory and their grandson. Jack is suffering from fears and anxiety. The fear is manifesting itself in nightmares, disturbing artwork, and other psychological impact. Are these a ramification of Devon's death or is it something else?

The time is the late 1930s. The place is London, England. Vivian James is a young woman enjoying her life. Isaak is the young man she is seeing. Life seems to be good, but Europe rumbles with thoughts of war and Nazis. What will war mean for these young lovers?

What do these stories have in common? The book tells both stories in alternating sections, moving forward piece by piece. Is Jack still reeling from Devon's death? Will Vivian leave Europe as her diplomat father wants her to? Is Jack disturbed? Is Isaak and his love for Vivian genuine? Is Audra somehow responsible for her son's condition? Will Vivian create a new life for herself in the US?

Who to trust and what to believe? Gradually, the pieces start to draw closer and closer. The individual characters and stories are developed beautifully such that each is complete onto itself. Each section leaves the reader wanting to know what comes next. Yet, the book also keeps you guessing at the exact connection between the two.

For its length, the book is a very quick read. Each section is not long, and the structure adds to the drama of the story and the questions in the story. This is the first book I have read by Kristina McMorris. I will seek out more.

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