Sunday, October 5, 2014

A Sudden Light

Garth Stein

When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story by the author of the internationally bestselling phenomenon, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

A Sudden Light is a rich, atmospheric work that is at once a multigenerational family saga, a historical novel, a ghost story, and the story of a contemporary family’s struggle to connect with each other. A tribute to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, it reflects Garth Stein’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation, and his rare ability to see the unseen: the universal threads that connect us all. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Do you remember that time as a kid or young teenager when you discover that the adults don’t have all the answers? That they make bad decisions and don’t always do things for the right reasons? And maybe, just maybe, you - the kid - might be the only one that has their act together?

Trevor’s parents are separated. He goes with his Dad to the house where his Dad grew up. There, he meets his funky Aunt Serena and his befuddled Grandpa Samuel. He also meets a ghost from the family’s past who cannot be set free until an injustice that occurred many years ago has been righted.

I thoroughly enjoyed this coming of age ghost story. It is about family, morals and righting a wrong. There were characters to love and characters to hate. The story weaves between past and present in a tightly woven plot. There was always something interesting going on to keep the story moving. A very good page turner.

I would like to thank Simon & Schuster, via Netgalley, for allwoing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

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