I received this ARC from Netgalley and Bloomsbury USA in exchange for an honest review.
Eleven year old Marcus has lost his mother, the only family he has ever known. Sent off to live with a great-aunt he’s never met on a small South Carolina island, to say he’s undergone some changes is an understatement. His aunt moved there to escape a past she doesn’t discuss and a family she scarcely mentions. She is an artist, specializing in island scenery and it has provided for her for a number of years. One of her most famous subjects is “Grief Cottage” a cottage that hosted tragedy 50 years before. Since then it’s been the subject of gossip and speculation and Marcus feels drawn there. While trying to be as unobtrusive as possible, he finds a sort of life amongst the sand.
For me it was a time of flat days and anxious thoughts. The sun rose later and set earlier. It was as if the summer knew that its best days were gone and was giving in without a fight.
Godwin’s masterful writing made up for any slow periods in the novel, I could always find a sentence or phrase that spoke to me. As Marcus struggles to process his loss and comprehend a grief he’s never known, his internal monologue bares all.
She said maybe it had been selfish to bring me into the world when she had so little to offer, but nevertheless she had wanted me more than anything in her whole life. She said I was her great prize.
Though his mom is gone when the story begins, I felt as if she could have been any other the mothers I’ve ever known. His sorrow is palpable, I just wanted to reach through the pages and hug him.
Well, you did die. I waited for you to come back and you didn’t. Whereas I’m still here, coming loose from my moorings, getting ready to fly apart.
Slow-moving and atmospheric, journey with Marcus as he processes what his life has become and solves a mystery or two at the same time. Pick it up for the plot, finish it for the writing.
Sit Tibi Terra Levis-May the earth lie lightly upon thee.
Publication Date: June 6, 2017