Friday, November 22, 2013

Julie's Review: The Pieces We Keep

Summary: In this richly emotional novel, Kristina McMorris evokes the depth of a mother's bond with her child, and the power of personal histories to echo through generations... Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes's grief over her husband's untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying — but it's just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him. As Jack's fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack's dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound — and perhaps, at last, to heal. Intricate and beautifully written, The Pieces We Keep illuminates those moments when life asks us to reach beyond what we know and embrace what was once unthinkable. Deftly weaving together past and present, herein lies a story that is at once poignant and thought-provoking, and as unpredictable as the human heart.

Review:  The Pieces We Keep is a powerful emotional story about how far a mother will go for her son. Audra and her son, Jack are still grieving the loss of their husband/father when Jack starts to have violent night terrors. In addition to the terrors, he's also changed into a introvert boy who doesn't smile much these days. If it wasn't for his journal, night terrors and a sudden interest in World War II, Audra might just think he's grieving for his dad.

We also learn the story of Vivian who is in London as war is declared and in love with a man she hardly knows. I imagine that Vivian was like most young women during WWII, where their current relationship takes on an immediacy and intimacy that it might not have if not for the imminence of war.  It is the actions of Vivian that have a lasting effect on those in this story.

How these stories are connected is brilliantly woven by Ms. McMorris. I swear I had it all figured out and then she gently drops a sentence that changes the whole course of the mystery. Each of these characters is easy to become attached to throughout the novel. That isn't to say that you don't want to shake them at times, but you feel their pain through the words.

As a mother, I can only imagine what Audra was going through and then to have something else tragic happen while she and Jack are trying to heal is devastating.  You want Audra to find the strength and faith she needs to help Jack sort out his pain as well as hers.

The Pieces We Keep is ultimately about family bonds, love, loss, forgiveness and healing. If you are a fan of World War II novels, this is one you won't want to miss. If you just like well-written novels, then you will want to pick this one up.

Final Take: 4.75/5

The Pieces We Keep will be released on 11/26/2013

Thanks to Kristina McMorris for my copy of the novel!



Unknown November 22, 2013 at 8:19 AM  

I'm glad you enjoyed this. I am currently reading it. Thanks for your great review!

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