Title: A Place We Knew Well Author: Susan Carol McCarthy Expected Publication: September 29th 2015 Format: ebook; Hardcover, 272 pages Genre: Fiction Source: My thanks to Netgalley and Random House Publishing Group - Bantam Dell for an opportunity to read an advance copy of this
Intense and poignant, melding fact and fiction, leaving the reader with an ache and a tremendous feeling of loss. Sarah Avery’s life did not work out the way that she had planned. She was going to study opera and have a life. She had grace and the voice of Lauren Bacall. That all changed when her sister Kitty became pregnant, Sarah had to forget her dreams. As their mother said, someone had to become the sacrificial lamb. Sarah is now married to Wes Avery, a Georgia farm boy who after returning from the war owns a gas station in Orlando, not too far from the McCoy Air Force Base.
The old anxiety and depressive fears are returning to Sarah. A Place We Knew Well is taking place during the Thirteen Days in October when the Cuban Missile Crisis is looming heavy over the nation. Sarah is already fragile with the impending doom and alcohol and Nembutal are no longer taking the edge off.
As the missile crisis is gearing up and ¬¬Kitty reentered their lives, though they had been told that she had died years before, the Avery family is spinning out of control. There is one part of their daughter Charlotte’s life that has been kept a family secret and that is about to be revealed. The Avery family cannot withstand any more devastation but that seems to be where they are headed. The older seventeen-year-old Charlotte gets the more independent she is, the more potential for disaster Sarah sees and she cannot allow this to happen.
As Wes tries to keep a firm grip on his family, he sees that everything is slowly running through his fingers. As he goes through the normal motions of everyday life, he knows that nothing will ever be the same. Feeling hollow and helpless against the slow steady drip of rising dread, Wes takes on each new disaster until there is no more strength within him. He realizes that he can no longer help his wife and if he does not make the right choices, he too will lose his daughter Charlotte.
This is a sad book, a book that is surrounded by the death of hope. Sarah has to grieve the death of a dream. Wes has to mourn the simple sweet life that they had – how could he have not seen what was coming? Charlotte, the one innocent in this whole story, has to mourn the mother that she loves but at the same time, never knew. Each having to face what hurts more, the truth or the lie.
How do you grieve a dream? The person that you thought you were, the life you thought you had. Try to figure out where you came up with the idea that you could dream, plan, buy, or will into existence a life without suffering. The answer – in any way you must.
For Charlotte and Wes, the world was saved but their family was lost. As I said, this is a sad and heartbreaking book.