Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Weight of Blood: A Novel

Title:  The Weight of Blood:  A Novel
Author:  Laura McHugh
Publication Information:  Spiegel & Grau. 2014. 320 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:  "You grow up feeling the weight of blood, of family. There's no forsaking kin. But you can't help when kin forsakes you or when strangers come to be family."

Lucy Dane is growing up in a small town. The townspeople still speak of how her mother disappeared when Lucy was very young. It was a mystery that was never solved.

Now, Lucy's friend Cheri has disappeared and is found murdered. Are the two events related? Is it a coincidence? Is there more going on in this sleepy little town than meets the eye? Lucy sets out to discover the truth. What she finds about herself, her family, and her community is beyond what she could have imagined.

Without giving a spoiler, I did not expect this book to end up where it did or take on the issues that it did. Henbane is described as a small town in the middle of the Ozark Mountains. The plot line is very unexpected given the small-town, rural setting.

The book goes back and forth between two perspectives - Lila as she arrives alone in the town on Henbane and Lucy as she seeks to determine what happened to her mother and to Cheri. Since so many of the characters are the same in both time periods, I found myself sometimes getting a little lost in the story. I had to make sure I read the chapter heading and focused on the names to remember whose story I was in.

A serious and sad book about family and violence. A well-written debut novel. I do look forward to see what Laura McHugh writes next.

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