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Monday, August 4, 2014

The Weight of Blood: A Novel

Well, there I go again, finding incredible novels and sharing them with you. Like this fine one for example, The Weight of Blood, by Laura McHugh. 

Henbane is a small town in the Ozarks--rarely do new people show up. When the beautiful and exotic Lila comes through and steals away one of the most eligible bachelors, rumor has it that she's a witch. She has a stunning baby girl, Lucy, before she disappears. Lucy grows up believing her mother killed herself until she begins to investigate the disappearance and murder of her best friend, Cheri. Things aren't adding up--and they may be far more sinister she can even envision.

I was full-on, no holds barred captivated by this novel. I was just simply intrigued for the first two chapters, then this story gripped me in its claws like a buzzard on roadkill. It was astonishing, really, this story that really had two main ideas that came out of it. The first is how the innocence of the young really allows children to believe what they are told and it in many ways protects them from the evil of the world, particularly of their fellow human beings; the second is that you may never really know the people you love. Either one of these would make for an astounding novel, but the way that McHugh wove these huge ideas together made for a read that I couldn't actually put down.

The story is told from several different perspectives which allowed me to understand both the past and the present of this tight-knit community and those who lived in it. I was very interested in finding out more of Lila and what happened to her, and I have to say that I didn't suspect what was coming. (Even though I expected that the bad guy might be the bad guy, I didn't quite expect that surprise.) The end of Part I is a game-changer--it turns the narrative arc on a dime and makes you unable to move from your seat until you push on through the next part. When Cheri's murder was connected to a much larger story, my mind was blown. It doesn't make sense yet it fits as a piece in the puzzle all at the same time.

McHugh has a wonderful writing style as well; she was able to write in several voices while still keeping a solid, steady note as the narrator of the same novel. She created a simple yet so complicated world that these characters lived in, and it's not terribly hard to have sympathy for them. This was one of those novels that I felt honored to have lived in for a few hours, and the praise that McHugh has received for this work is incredibly well-deserved.

Hard copy for purchase below.

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