Wednesday, November 18, 2015

A Place We Knew Well

Susan Carol McCarthy

Late October, 1962. Wes Avery, a one-time Air Force tail-gunner, is living his version of the American Dream as loving husband to Sarah, doting father to seventeen-year-old Charlotte, and owner of a successful Texaco station along central Florida's busiest highway. But after President Kennedy announces that the Soviets have nuclear missiles in Cuba, Army convoys clog the highways and the sky fills with fighter planes. Within days, Wes's carefully constructed life begins to unravel.

Sarah, nervous and watchful, spends more and more time in the family's bomb shelter, slipping away into childhood memories and the dreams she once held for the future. Charlotte is wary but caught up in the excitement of high school—her nomination to homecoming court, the upcoming dance, and the thrill of first love. Wes, remembering his wartime experience, tries to keep his family's days as normal as possible, hoping to restore a sense of calm. But as the panic over the Missile Crisis rises, a long-buried secret threatens to push the Averys over the edge.

With heartbreaking clarity and compassion, Susan Carol McCarthy captures the shock and innocence, anxiety and fear, in those thirteen historic days, and brings vividly to life one ordinary family trying to hold center while the world around them falls apart (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

Wes Avery lives near a military base in Florida with his wife Sarah and daughter Charlotte. He knows something is up when he starts to see alot of activity at the base, both in the air and on the ground. The whole town soon finds out, along with the rest of the nation, about the Cuban Missile Crisis. A Place We Knew Well tells the story of how the crisis impacted one family, one town and an entire nation.

I liked the main character Ms. McCarthy created in Wes Avery. He is a simple man who just wants to take care of his family and run his business. He doesn’t really understand why his wife is slowly falling apart and tries to keep things together for their daughter. Even when the crisis is over, the after effects still take a toll on his family.

This was well written and evenly paced. I was drawn to the characters and wanted to know how their story would end. I like how the author chose to close the book. It was a unique way to provide some statistics regarding the impact the stress from the missile crisis had on people. Overall, I like the author’s style and would be interested in reading her other books.

Many thanks to Random House Publishing - Bantam, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

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