Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Safe Within: A Novel by Jean Reynolds Page

Safe Within: A NovelSafe Within: A Novel by Jean Reynolds Page

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Summary: A novel of how family happens—whether you like it or not
Elaine and Carson Forsyth have returned to the tree house—Elaine's childhood home, a cabin nestled high in the branches of two oaks beside a North Carolina lake—where forty-nine-year-old Carson has chosen to spend the waning days of his life. As Elaine prepares for a future without her beloved husband, their solace is interrupted. Carson's mother, Greta, has set loose a neighbor's herd of alpacas and landed herself in police custody. While Carson, remarkably, sees humor in the situation, Elaine can only question what her obligations are—and will be—to a woman who hasn't spoken to her in more than twenty years.

In the wake of Carson's death, Elaine and their grown son, Mick, are thrust into the maelstrom of Greta, the mother-in-law and grandmother who never accepted either of them. Just as they are trying to figure out their new roles in the family, Mick uncovers unexpected questions of his own. A long-ago teenage relationship with a local girl may have left him with more than just memories, and he must get to the bottom of Greta's surprising accusations that he's not Carson's son at all.

My thoughts: This is a savory kind of book. Although not long and wordy, the author sets the scene of complicated family relationships weighted down by the realities of life, the present and the past. Written in flowing prose, the book bounces between points of view and provides a more complete picture of the complexity of the individual, the relationships in differing schemes, and the town.

Elaine and Mick return with Carson, husband and father, who is dying of cancer, to the town where they began. As with any small town, rumors take on life of their own and rumors are the interest. Mick's paternity is called into question. Family is defined and redefined. Forgiveness is given and taken away. Throughout the book, Carson remains central and steadfastly like a compass. Even after he dies, he is very much the center of the book in a steady way.

Three generations are looking for peace. I love a nice, tidy ending where everything is wrapped up in a bow but I absolutely loved the open ended ending of this book. There is hope and possibility. Jean Reynolds Page is an artist on the written canvas.

Here are some more thoughts from people besides me:

Tuesday, June 12th: Jenn’s Bookshelves
Wednesday, June 13th: Reading Lark
Thursday, June 14th: A Cozy Reader’s Corner
Monday, June 18th: Hospitable Pursuits
Tuesday, June 19th: Silver & Grace
Wednesday, June 20th: A Musing Reviews
Thursday, June 21st: Kritters Ramblings
Monday, June 25th: Bloggin’ ‘Bout Books
Tuesday, June 26th: Paperback Princess
Wednesday, June 27th: BookNAround
Thursday, June 28th: The Book Bag

*I received a free copy of this book from publishing company in exchange for an honest review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

1 comment:

heathertlc said...

Multi-generational stories really appeal to me - glad to see you enjoyed this one!

Thanks for being on the tour.