The book reviews of UK children's author, Brian Keaney
Set in rural Wisconsin between the First and Second World Wars, this story of two sisters and their children growing up on the shores of a lake is full of secrets, guilt, misunderstandings and tragedy. There's an intensity about the plot that makes it quite difficult to bear at times - especially the ending when so much is at stake.
As a debut novel, it's quite remarkable and I wasn't surprised to hear that it was an Oprah's Book Club choice; but I think it has its weaknesses. In particular, the male characters are pretty shadowy and, despite its undoubted emotional power, I didn't really enjoy it. There wasn't enough light in the story for me. It felt claustrophopbic and I could only read it in little bits. She's undoubtedly a promising writer, but I felt relieved to have reached the end.