white picket fences
by Susan Meissner
Publisher: WaterBrook Press
Format: Trade Paperback, 368 pages
Amanda Janvier’s idyllic home seems the perfect place for her niece Tally to stay while her vagabond brother is in Europe, but the white picket fence life Amanda wants to provide is a mere illusion. Amanda’s husband Neil refuses to admit their teenage son Chase, is haunted by the horrific fire he survived when he was four, and their marriage is crumbling while each looks the other way.
Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won’t make them go away.
Readers of emotional dramas that are willing to explore the lies that families tell each other for protection and comfort will love White Picket Fences. The novel is ideal for those who appreciate exploring questions like: what type of honesty do children need from their parents, or how can one move beyond a past that isn’t acknowledged or understood? Is there hope and forgiveness for the tragedies of our past and a way to abundant grace?
As with Susan's last book The Shape of Mercy, I found this book to be a very deep and thought provoking. The story is compelling as we think about family dynamics. We always hear that we don't know what others are going through and the seemingly "perfect" family has its own issues.
Tally enters the Janvier's home carrying the secrets her father left with her before he headed to Europe. She's promised not to say anything and does her best to keep his secret. In turn, we begin to learn about secrets the other family members harbor.
What is it about secrets? I know there are times we think certain secrets are to be kept, when they'd be helpful if revealed. Then there are those precious secrets that once brought to light cause damage never dreamed of. This is exampled as we listen to the stories of Eliasz and Josef during their time in the Warsaw Ghetto of WWII.
White Picket Fences certainly is a detour from The Shape of Mercy and underscores the strength and gift of Susan Meissner's writing. This is not what I would consider light reading, but it is thoughtfully written and a must-have for any bookshelf.
Susan Meissner cannot remember a time when she wasn’t driven to put her thoughts down on paper. Her novel The Shape of Mercy was a Publishers Weekly pick for best religious fiction of 2008 and a Christian Book Award finalist. Susan and her husband live in Southern California, where he is a pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves. They are the parents of four grown children.
I'd like to thank Staci at WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House for sending me my review & giveaway copy of White Picket Fences. To learn more about this and other great titles visit the Random House website.
To win a copy of White Picket Fences answer this question... tell me one of your family secrets. hahahaha Just kidding. Have you ever had family members stay with you for an extended period of time? Did it go well? Personally I've never had anyone stay with us for more than a day or so. I'd actually love to have family here for a week or two! My grandmother-in-law says she's happy 2x when people visit: when they come and when they go. :)
You must be a US resident, 18 yrs and older to enter. Giveaway will end November 20, 10pm CST. Void where prohibited. Winner is drawn using the Top Hat software. Leave an email address. Without an email you will NOT be entered.