From the best-selling author of While I Was Gone and The Senator’s Wife, a superb new novel about a family and a community tested when an arsonist begins setting fire to the homes of the summer people in a small New England town.
Troubled by the feeling that she belongs nowhere after working in East Africa for 15 years, Frankie Rowley has come home - home to the small New Hampshire town of Pomeroy and the farmhouse where her family has always summered. On her first night back, a house up the road burns to the ground. Is it an accident, or arson? Over the weeks that follow, as Frankie comes to recognize her father’s slow failing and her mother’s desperation, another house burns, and then another, always the homes of summer people. These frightening events, and the deep social fault lines that open in the town as a result, are observed and reported on by Bud Jacobs, a former political journalist, who has bought the local paper and moved to Pomeroy in an attempt to find a kind of home himself. As this compelling book unfolds, as Bud and Frankie begin an unexpected, passionate affair, arson upends a trusting small community where people have never before bothered to lock their doors; and Frankie and Bud bring wholly different perspectives to the questions of who truly owns the land, who belongs in the town, and how, or even whether, newcomers can make a real home there.
©2014 Sue Miller (P)2014 Random House Audio
I don't know, I didn't read it, I listened.
It was interesting on many levels, with several different stories going on.
The ending was interesting and not quite what I thought would happen.
That is not possible, but it kept me lidtening.
Although I like her descriptive writing there was no plot in the book worth following. The Arsonist, the lover and the family issues were all boring and, for the most part, ended unceramoniously.
Possible, if there was a story worth following.
I would have added more excitement about pursuing the arsonist and made the love story or her families life more emotional. It's like her parents were more her second cousins than her Mother and Father.
Not able to figure out the ending, until I got there. That's because the people in the book are complex and realistic. The arsons challenge and divide them. And throughout, they have also to deal with and adapt to the regular stuff that happens to people and families at various stages of their lives.
Sylvia, the main character's mother. She struggles with what others need or expect from her, and what she needs. She balances, adapts, makes mistakes, takes chances.
Alfie, the main character's father, who has dementia. His disease progresses in spite of all that's swirling around everyone due to the arsons, relationship issues, romance, moving, age, opportunities, etc. But he copes with things too, and it is uncertain what exactly he understands and what he doesn't. This makes the things the people around him say and do, affect him in a different way than everyone else.
People all behaving the way they do because of what's happened to them in the past, affected by what's happening to them in the present and what may, or may not happen to them in the future. Loved it.
Sue Miller is very skilled at drawing characters so you know them intimately. She's also excellent at physical description. But if you need a strong plotline you will be disappointed with this book. I also found the ending a bit frustrating.
Only if I was in the mood for a very intense character driven novel
This is my first Sue Miller performance but I think she did a good job in making all the characters sound different.
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