Title: TRUE PLACES
Author: SONJA YOERG
Genre: FICTION, WOMEN’S FICTION
Length: 347 PAGES
Publisher: LAKE UNION PUBLISHING
Received From: NETGALLEY
Release Date: JANUARY 1, 2019
Price: $24.95 USD
Rating: 4.5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
A girl emerges from the woods, starved, ill, and alone…and collapses.
Suzanne Blakemore hurtles along the Blue Ridge Parkway, away from her overscheduled and completely normal life, and encounters the girl. As Suzanne rushes her to the hospital, she never imagines how the encounter will change her—a change she both fears and desperately needs.
Suzanne has the perfect house, a successful husband, and a thriving family. But beneath the veneer of an ideal life, her daughter is rebelling, her son is withdrawing, her husband is oblivious to it all, and Suzanne is increasingly unsure of her place in the world. After her discovery of the ethereal sixteen-year-old who has never experienced civilization, Suzanne is compelled to invite Iris into her family’s life and all its apparent privileges.
But Iris has an independence, a love of solitude, and a discomfort with materialism that contrasts with everything the Blakemores stand for—qualities that awaken in Suzanne first a fascination, then a longing. Now Suzanne can’t help but wonder: Is she destined to save Iris, or is Iris the one who will save her?
Forty-two-year-old Suzanne Blakemore has the perfect life. She lives in a stunning house that could easily be featured in a magazine. She has a husband named Whit whose career is thriving, and she has both a son and a daughter; the perfect nuclear family.
One day she is driving on the Blue Ridge Parkway and stops to take in the scenery. She notices something out of place and is shocked to discover a girl burning with fever and all alone.
Suzanne rushes her to the hospital and discovers that the girl, despite her diminutive stature, is sixteen years old. Her name is Iris, and like a modern day version of Mowgli from the Jungle Book, she has never experienced civilization.
Unable to find any living family members, Suzanne welcomes Iris into the home and lives of her family members. She believes that she is saving Iris, but as the story evolves, it seems likely that it just might be the other way around.
As a mother who has experienced both the joys and the challenges of raising teenagers, I was able to relate to Suzanne. Her whole life is, and has always been, about taking care of the children and ensuring that their busy lives run as smoothly as possible. It is easy to lose sight of yourself and your own wants and needs when you are too busy to even notice that you are not feeling fulfilled.
Author Sonja Yoerg has immense talent for description, and as a mother I found the following quote one that I understood completely.
“… That morning Brynn had leveled her with a look so contemptuous Suzanne had been certain her daughter was possessed.”
What parent of a teenager has not had the exact same thought? The answer is: none that I know of.
Set in and around the gorgeous the gorgeous Blue Ridge Mountains, the author paints a beautiful picture of the area where this story takes place. Readers find themselves immersed in not only the sights, but also in the sounds and even the smells of the region. The author’s love of the area is obvious and shines through in every description.
Released only four days ago on January first, this book is a terrific choice for one to begin the New Year with and is especially perfect for Book Clubs.
I rate TRUE PLACES as 4.5 Stars out 5, but will round up so the rating is 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐.
In the back of the book the author has included a discussion guide which is perfect for those who choose TRUE PLACES as a selection for their book club.
***Thank you to #NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book.***
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
She earned a PhD in biological psychology from the University of California, Berkeley; and wrote a nonfiction book about animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox, before deciding it was more fun to make things up.
Sonja lives with her husband in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.
To learn more about this author, visit the following links:
“Reality offered unvarnished truths…”
“Her stomach churned a slurry of acid and grief, her soul limp… Mama was gone.”
“That was, in fact, what time was: a narrow container for a relentless succession of tasks.”
“Time was a squeezing bitch. It never expanded, never gave up any slack…”
“How could an expression that hateful, and directed at Suzanne, appear on the face of the child who had once – no, hundreds of times – looked upon her mother with love so pure it made her life … almost too beautiful to bear?”
“No one gives in without giving something up, and nothing is given up without cost.”
The author mentions a “Tulip Tree” in the book and I had never heard of this type of tree before. I live in Ontario, Canada and as far as I know, we do not have those trees where I live.
Anyway, I was intrigued, so I searched online and found some pictures and information about this tree on Wikipedia.
For those who are interested, here are some photographs of the Tulip Tree (obtained from Wikipedia):