Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The award-winning author of The Memory of Water delivers a gripping tale of family, fate, and forgiveness.
When Piper Mills was twelve, she helped her grandfather bury a box that belonged to her grandmother in the backyard. For twelve years, it remained untouched.
Now a near fatal riding accident has shattered Piper’s dreams of Olympic glory. After her grandfather’s death, she inherits the house and all its secrets, including a key to a room that doesn’t exist - or does it? And after her grandmother is sent away to a nursing home, she remembers the box buried in the backyard. In it are torn pages from a scrapbook, a charm necklace, and a newspaper article from 1939 about the body of an infant found floating in the Savannah River. The necklace’s charms tell the story of three friends during the 1930s - each charm added during the three months each friend had the necklace and recorded her life in the scrapbook. Piper always dismissed her grandmother as not having had a story to tell. And now, too late, Piper finds she might have been wrong.
Once again, I’m relying on people’s questions to jump start this post.
heatherlo asked: And for The Lost Hours, I personally don't read a lot of mysteries, but I found myself entranced with the mystery aspect of this book. What are your thoughts on the mystery part of the book? Did it keep you guessing and interested in the story, or not?
Personally, I didn’t find the mystery all that mysterious. It definitely added to the story, but I had a pretty good idea of what had happened before all the questions were answered. Sure there are details that are not uncovered until the very end, but I’m certain most readers will have a good grasp of what will be revealed. However, I don’t think the mystery is at the heart of the story. Rather, it’s the characters and the time periods. As we journey back in time, the story deals with race, class and gender roles in the South during the 1920’s and 1930’s. Piper’s grandmother and her friends confront each of these issues in various ways, resulting in tension…and yes, the mystery. As we catch glimpses of their lives the mystery that Piper is investigating unfolds. The synopsis doesn’t go into details about this aspect of the story, but for me, this is its strength.
Joanne, everyone’s favorite Book Zombie, wants to know: This one sounds like an excellent read, but after seeing the mention of shattered Olympic dreams I was turned off. How much does this have to do with the main plot?
And this leads us to the present day setting of the book. The whole shattered dreams thing isn’t a constant presence. However, Piper’s attitude and fears are. These are, of course, a result of the accident. The focus is on Piper accepting her current life and learning to integrate her past with her present. This is hard to explain…Piper isn’t so much boo-hooing her lost past as she is refusing to engage in her present. Piper’s story is more about acceptance and resolution…it’s gentler and also has a hint of romance to it.
So together, there’s a lot going on in this book. But not an overwhelming lot.