After I hit Cannonball, I rested on my laurels a bit too much and now I am behind a couple of reviews! I also slowed way down in the reading department. I read this one a while back for my book club’s November selection. Seems like ages ago. Now I gotta slide these reviews in between making holiday cookies and watching my Christmas Hallmark/Lifetime/Freeform movies. Don’t judge.
This is another one of Reese Witherspoon’s Hello Sunshine book club selections. Again, I would never have guessed that I would become a fan of her book club recommendations, but here I am.
Owens’ book is a coming of age story like no other I have read. Abandoned as a child, Kya makes a life for herself in the back waters of North Carolina swamp land. The natural world pretty much serves as parent, teacher, and friend until she strikes up tentative relationships with a husband and wife who own a bait shop and a local boy.
I don’t want to give away too much of the plot. Part murder mystery and part love story, the unspooling of the events is part of the beauty of the novel. I will say that while the murder mystery part of the novel is necessary to further the plot, it wasn’t my favorite part of the narrative. I think that it was used, mostly, for Owen’s exploration of the small mindedness that can fester in a tiny tight knit community. However, it is the swamp that steals the show. The natural landscape is a character in and of itself and Owens’ love of nature shines through. She has published works on wildlife and science, but this is her first novel.
The story is melancholy, beautiful and suspenseful and I highly recommend it.