Thursday, June 4, 2009

Things Left Unspoken - a Book Review

Recently I received notice from Amazon that a new book was being published, one by an author I know. So of course I ordered it. I hadn't read a good novel in a bit. And I'd pre-read a few pages of this one several years ago as part of the writer's group I belonged to in Florida. Those few pages moved me.



Last week the book, Things Left Unspoken, arrived and I set it aside to read over the weekend. I read it nearly all in one night. It almost killed me to have to go to sleep and stop reading.

Things Left Unspoken is set in Georgia, near Savannah, in a tiny town. The book opens with a funeral scene. It took me a chapter or so to get my bearings, but once I did, I was hooked.

The main character, Jo-Lynn, is going through a midlife crisis, as is her husband, and she agrees to hang out in the tiny town of Cottonwood (the setting for the funeral) to renovate her grandparent's home, putting a distance between herself and her husband (he's home in Atlanta), but keeping her close to the town she grew up in. Her family is full of colorful people, all fleshed out nicely by Mrs. Everson. I can hear their southern accents when I read, which makes me smile.

Being the deep south, there's a dark undercurrent. It hit close to home for me, the secrets these people hold close. If you read the book, email me and I'll tell you why. :)

Eva Marie makes these people real. I feel like I know them by the end of the book. And I love that she doesn't ruin their lives with their pasts. Too frequently I feel like authors torture their characters with their pasts, haunting them at every turn with the decisions they've made. For me it doesn't seem realistic, dramatic as may be, and I get tired of it. I hate having to scream at the people in a book all the way through the read.

Don't get me wrong, the characters in Things Left Unspoken definitely pay the consequences for the actions of their pasts. There's no getting away from it, even with Jo-Lynn. But they seem real, at peace, to a degree, with the choices they've made. I love it.

Y'all, I hope you choose to read this one. If you do, let me know? Let me know what you think of it?

Until I write again ...

Flea

10 comments:

Julie said...

OOOO you have me intrigued!!!!

pennhnd said...

Thank you, Flea, for your wonderful review!

I appreciate it SO much!

The idea for TLU came to me one February afternoon (it was cold, even for Florida!) as I was reflecting on my great-uncle Jimmy's funeral. It snowed that day and the memory of it came with the words: It snowed the day we buried Uncle Jim.

I literally played with this ms. for years before showing it to my Baker editor. Next thing I knew, they wanted to contract it and I had to come up with a REAL storyline! :)

I'm so glad it's one you liked and I appreciate what you said about it not having that sappy kind of ending or the kind that makes everyone pay to the nth degree. I believe in writing out of reality.

Sometimes things work out. Sometimes they don't. :)


Eva

Daryl said...

You are a good book reviewer .. offering enough of a taste to reel me in .. I am putting this on my to-read list.

asthmagirl said...

Wow... what a great review! You make the book sound fantastic. I wonder if a yankee (like me) would get that southern undertone?

Trisha said...

Nice review! I have added this to my "get soon" list! Thanks!

Don Mills Diva said...

I have a bit of an obsession with the American Deep South - will deifnitely have to check this out...

Krista said...

I agree - you make it sound intriguing. I don't do a lot of leisurely reading (mine are always "how to" type books) but I may give this a go! I like secret pasts.....he he he!

Mental P Mama said...

Wondering if that is my family....

Leenie said...

Dang it. I just ordered more books from Amazon than I'll ever get through this summer and I'm only halfway through another I bought at Barnes and Nobles.

Daisy said...

This sounds great! I'm going to get it for my summer reading list. My summer reading is ALL pleasure!