Author: Shawn Smucker
Release Date: July 6, 2021
Smucker’s best story yet!
Paul Elias has just received a terminal diagnosis of cancer and has been given months to live. He can accept that it is his time to die, but he can’t accept that he doesn’t have alternate arrangements for someone to take care of his granddaughter, Pearl. Pearl’s dad, Paul’s son John, is not in the picture and frankly, Paul is not sure where to even start. When he picks up Pearl from school, she seems to have already devised a plan and tells him that they will be taking a trip back to Paul’s hometown of Nysa, where he hasn’t been or spoken about since the drowning death of his wife 40 years ago.
Once in Nysa, Paul gets reacquainted with an old friend and finds that the town is nothing like he remembered. The longer they stay in Nysa, the more Pearl starts to act like her grandmother, causing Paul to question her sanity as well as everything he knows. Perhaps this wasn’t the best place to come.
Having read all of Shawn Smucker’s books, I can easily say that this is the best one! The story is very introspective and will have readers questioning things throughout the entire story. Told from Paul’s point of view, readers pick up when Paul is in his upper 50s and are introduced to Paul’s world as it is today. At the beginning, parts of the story seem disorganized and the flow doesn’t necessarily follow any particular format but hang on because everything will be revealed through memories.
As readers push forward, they will notice many parallels between the past and present, most notably between Pearl and her grandmother, Mary. There is quite a bit of supernatural elements throughout that aren’t necessarily explained, but it makes the story more suspenseful and will keep readers turning the pages. I found it difficult to put down the book after each chapter because I wanted to find out what happens next. The ending is quite subjective and likely some readers won’t enjoy it, but there is ray of sunlight that shines some hope.
I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within are my own.