About the Book:
Thirty years ago, Martin Owenby came to New York City with dreams of becoming a writer. Now his existence revolves around cheap Scotch and weekend flings with equally damaged men. When he learns that his older brother, Leon, has gone missing, he must return to the Owenby farm in Solace Fork, North Carolina, to assist in the search. But that means facing a past filled with regrets, the family that never understood him, the girl whose heart he broke, and the best friend who has faithfully kept the home fires burning. As the mystery surrounding Leon’s disappearance deepens, so too does the weight of decades-long unresolved differences and unspoken feelings—forcing Martin to deal with the hardest lessons about home, duty, and love.
About the Author:
Heather Newton’s short stories have appeared in Crucible,Encore, Wellspring, and elsewhere. She lives with her family in Asheville, North Carolina, where she is an attorney and mediator.
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I am not sure how to really go into this review. I both liked it and disliked it. I disliked it because it was such a long story that was drug out too much, at times. I liked it, however, because this first time author really shows talent and created a complex, dramatic story that is life like and filled with characters who have flaws. Not fake-y stuff. Simple, normal, and even dysfunctional flaws. That’s what brings out the complexity of the novel.
I am still, too, a little unsure of Martin’s character. Ms. Newton did a good job with all the characters in the novel, yes, but Martin’s character…well, simply put, he was a bit too unusual for me. He lived in New York with Dennis, his lover, but had to come home to North Carolina to help with the mysterious disappearance of his brother, Leon. He kept his gayness in the closet when he was in North Carolina and focused on being there with his family and his long time friend and once, a girlfriend, Liza. In simple terms: he had to face his past.
Told in different family member’s perspective this novel is filled with mystery, grief, love, hope and longing-a little something for all types of readers. The plot is unique and could have been told by a seasoned author, the way Ms. Newton used her descriptive detail and her talented words. It is, as I said, a very dramatic styled story and it comes to life before the reader.
However, all this being said, it is not one that I,myself, would read again and again, due to my personal tastes. As I said in the beginning, I both liked it for it’s complexity and disliked it for it’s slowness and length. But, that will not stop me from recommending it with 3 stars for those who like the longer, slow paced drama styled stories. I will also read more books from Ms. Newton in the future, in hopes that I will find something by her that is absolutely mind blowing!
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