Friday, March 14, 2014

The Weight of Blood: A Novel by Laura McHugh

Release Date: March 11, 2014
Publisher: Spiegel & Grau

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars.

In a small town surrounded by thick woods and tall mountain like Henbane, secrets ran as deep as tree roots and more deadly than the plant that shares its name. Lucy Dane's family has always been a part of Henbane and its secrets. Her father and the men before him were gravediggers for the town long before modern funeral homes were common.

When Lucy's childhood friend went missing and later found murdered, she made it her mission to find out the truth behind her friend's last days - and those of her mother who went missing shortly after Lucy's birth. Weaving together the threads of both cases, the truth pushed to the surface like a flower in springs. Revelations can free a person or burden the soul. The more she discovered, the more Lucy began questioning everything she'd ever been told. Will she figure it out before it's too late? Will she be able to bear the cost?

Requesting this book through NetGalley was an excellent choice and I'm very glad that I was approved.The novel covered parallel plots, interweaving them at a number of points and bringing the book to a different level than if it were a simple straight shot through the story. It was a little strange in the beginning but I quickly adjusted to the multiple points-of-view. Each chapter began with the name of the person so it became easier as the story went along.

Speaking of characters, there were a lot of them to meet throughout the story, but a small number became the core group which affected both the past and present. It was interesting to me because I was able to see how the decisions a person made nearly two decades earlier came back to either hinder or help them. And as for secrets, I don't think one person in that town was free of secrets. The interconnected lives of small town folk were accurately portrayed in many areas and impacted the story at nearly every turn. Someone knew something about someone, often using that secret to his or her advantage.

That dimension of the story put a lot of the characters into a grey area. They weren't bad people but they weren't exactly good either. So the story wasn't a good versus bad type at all. Each and every person did something that would be considered bad to some degree. From lying and stealing to murder and rape, the deeds ran the gamut and left the reader with the responsibility of deciding who could be trusted and who to avoid at all costs. I must admit that as I neared the end of the book, I dreaded Lucy finding any of the answers she wanted. With the dual timelines, I knew some of the answers before she did and as the events of the book reached their climax, I felt really bad for the girl who simply wanted the truth.

Pacing was steady and solid from the very beginning. By the time I reached the end of one chapter, I wanted to keep moving on to find the next surprise or secret. There were a few points in the book where I cringed at what was taking place. I knew it was going to happen but I still didn't want it to. The only thing that really bothered me was not all of the answers were revealed at the end. Perhaps because that's much like the way life works. We don't always get all the answers. But I still wanted to know!

Overall, I thought the book to be an excellent one. Despite the lingering, unanswered questions, there were a lot of events that brought out a range of emotions. The author's descriptions of the town, its atmosphere and its people allowed the story to become real in my mind as I read it. I would definitely recommend this book if you enjoy glimpses of the darker side of life mixed with a down-home feel. Just don't forget your secrets.

The Weight of Blood: A Novel by Laura McHugh is currently available at many online retailers. It can be purchased from Amazon in either hardcover or Kindle format. You can pick up your copy by clicking the link below.
The Weight of Blood: A Novel by Laura McHugh

No comments:

Post a Comment