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Wow! Just wow! What a powerful book! This novel is not for the faint of heart. The prose is evocative and visceral. It takes on some of our most taboo societal ills: abuse, sexual abuse, neglect. Turtle, a 14-year old girl is being raised by her father in a small coastal community in northern California. She is socially isolated and her father has ingrained in her a survivalist mentality. It stands her in good stead for all the turmoil to come in this story. ~ Reviewed by Shirley Cagle
I loved this book! While it felt like a mystery because the younger sister, Julia, never knew about the older sister, Lillian, the two different viewpoints read like straight fiction. I was continually rooting for the sisters to meet, imagining two kindred spirits finally finally discovering each other after a stoic childhood. The unpredictable ending was gut wrenching, but in a way that made sense, given the entirety of the book. ~ Reviewed by Shirley Cagle
This book is a great beach read! You feel the frustration of Sunshine Mackenzie, the star of a cooking empire, as her world collapses around her, the victim of an orchestrated act of sabotage. Her attempt to whitewash her early life and escape her past masks painful childhood memories of neglect, but she is forced to return to her hometown and face her family. Like a phoenix, she decides to rebuild her life from the ground up. In the end, she triumphs in a most humble way. Very entertaining! ~ Reviewed by Shirley Cagle
The Fact of a Body is a startlingly intimate journey through the author’s childhood and molestation by a family member. Her story is intertwined with that of a pedophile sentenced to death for the abuse and murder of a six-year old boy. Her life-long trauma leads her to question the motivations of her abuser, the shroud of silence that surrounded her molestation (and other family secrets), and finally, her feelings about her family, as well as about the death penalty. This cathartic book is deeply personal and moving. ~ Reviewed by Shirley Cagle
In a distinctive style, the author sets a bleak stage of cool, windswept oceanfront on the North Sea coast. Our heroine, Ella Nygaard, is not particularly likable, and with good reason. Her childhood was ripped away at age seven and she spent years fighting her way through foster care, only to find herself confronting her demons as a young mother with nothing but her son to lose. This tale is a carefully crafted mystery, leaving us with a glimmer of hope for Ella. ~ Reviewed by Shirley Cagle