Author: Jean Reynolds Page
Publisher: Harper Collins
Source: TLC Book Tours
About The BookElaine and Carson Forsyth have returned to the tree house—Elaine’s childhood home, a cabin nestled high in the branches of two oaks beside a North Carolina lake—where forty-nine-year-old Carson has chosen to spend the waning days of his life. As Elaine prepares for a future without her beloved husband, their solace is interrupted. Carson’s mother, Greta, has set loose a neighbor’s herd of alpacas and landed herself in police custody. While Carson, remarkably, sees humor in the situation, Elaine can only question what her obligations are—and will be—to a woman who hasn’t spoken to her in more than twenty years.
In the wake of Carson’s death, Elaine and their grown son, Mick, are thrust into the maelstrom of Greta, the mother-in-law and grandmother who never accepted either of them. Just as they are trying to figure out their new roles in the family, Mick uncovers unexpected questions of his own. A long-ago teenage relationship with a local girl may have left him with more than just memories, and he must get to the bottom of Greta’s surprising accusations that he’s not Carson’s son at all.
My Thoughts:Safe Within is the perfect book club read, for those clubs not looking for a light weight beach read. The characters are detailed, their lives examined, the story a study of how life in a small town can effect a person. The close relationships between the characters shows the impact that small town life has, both in a positive and negative manner, pointing out the affects in the aftermath of tragedy . The story is told in the past and present tense, alternating between them. Just as you would in know a little bit about everyone by growing up in a small town, as the reader the same holds true with the characters in this novel. Each characters is touched upon and detailed, though it makes the characters difficult to connect with.
The format of switching between character voices or past to present is quite enjoyable in a novel but can be difficult to navigate without confusing a reader. I struggled a little with this book. It was not always clear to me that the novel was switching time frames, which made me have to pause or re-read some sections. Aside from this, the novel is quite enjoyable. The characters are interesting and well developed. The town is quaint and individualistic, proving not all small towns are the same though their qualities can mirror one another. The novel does a great job digging into small town life and the issues and situations that arise within it. I loved the setting of this book and found myself wishing I was reading this with my book club so we could discuss the topics within. I won't be surprised if Safe Within sparks conversations for many book clubs this year.
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