Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Book Review: The Mourning Hours

The Mourning Hours
Author: Paula Treick DeBoard
Published: June 25, 2013 by Harlequin MIRA


Kirsten Hammarstrom hasn't been home to her tiny corner of rural Wisconsin in years-not since the mysterious disappearance of a local teenage girl rocked the town and shattered her family. Kirsten was just nine years old when Stacy Lemke went missing, and the last person to see her alive was her boyfriend, Johnny-the high school wrestling star and Kirsten's older brother. No one knows what to believe-not even those closest to Johnny-but the event unhinges the quiet farming community and pins Kirsten's family beneath the crushing weight of suspicion. 

Now, years later, a new tragedy forces Kirsten and her siblings to return home, where they must confront the devastating event that shifted the trajectory of their lives. Tautly written and beautifully evocative, The Mourning Hours is a gripping portrayal of a family straining against extraordinary pressure, and a powerful tale of loyalty, betrayal and forgiveness.


Note: I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. (Thank you Harlequin!)

The story of Kristen and her family kept me wanting more. I gobbled this book down in almost record time if for no other reason than I just couldn't see where the author was headed. -- Is she dead? Is she alive? Does it matter? Was it him? Was it her?-- It's a pretty big feat lately for a book to keep me guessing. DeBoard took advantage of my natural (over)curiosity and RAN with it. 

There was nothing shocking or really "deep" about the treatment of the material, but it definitely made for a good read. I keep wanting to call it a good, light read, but there isn't much about this book that qualifies it as "light". Regardless, the author's writing is clean, clear and makes it easy to keep turning the pages.

DeBoard did an excellent job of painting the picture of the pain and suffering of the Hammarstrom family. Interesting, considering it is not their daughter who has gone missing. What's even more interesting is that she chose to tell the story from the perspective of nine-year old Kristen- a character who should really just be an observer of the action. Instead, DeBoard manages to tell the story from the perspective of those on the periphery of the action and, in doing so, does an excellent job of showing the reader how our actions are never just our own.  

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