This is an amazing novel dealing with mental illness and its effect on family. The last part of this novel, I was literally shaking my head, not wanting to turn the pages, as I was afraid of what would transpire next. The novel is split into three sections based on time, 1972 and back in 1926. The novels centers upon a family who lived in Vermont and three women who were a part of this family. As I look back, I cannot say that I enjoyed one of the main character more than the other. With their own set of blueprints, Solange, her daughter Carole and Carole’s daughter, Alison each entered into mental illness with different conditions.
Solange marries Osborn, who later becomes involved in a high profiled case when he lands his first job. As an attorney, Osborn is paid to represent his client yet Solange is devastated about social injustice. Solange argues and clashes with others including Osborn and authorities about this topic causing quite a scene. These strong feelings are carried over into the household, making things there uncomfortable. Add this to the other difficulties occurring in the house and you have a stressful marriage. Osborn notices that Solange is not well and he has her admitted to Underhill, a state hospital. I am livid, I am shaking my head and ready to throw my Kindle across the floor. It’s 1926, I realize the time period, I realize what high statue he stands on, I realize she is a woman, but I also see the children and I hold onto my Kindle because I know, it just might slip from my grips. Carole, she is another one of the women we are introduced to. She is the daughter of Solange and Osborn and she was ten when her mother went to live in the hospital. She saw and hear what went on in the house when her parents were discussing arguing, fighting about equality and life in general and I found out now just what that did to her. As I read, I also discovered what happened to Carole and her family after they locked away her mother. Carole poured her story out for me in these pages, she let it all out and yet, I felt there was more that she not telling me. She was so innocent, she had the most to lose and she was scared and who could help her? Married with children of her own, she tried to remain strong, she fought but somehow, they were stronger. Alison, is one of Carole’s children and the other woman we get to know in this novel. Alison was always waiting for a sign before she would proceed any further. Sinister Alison, she seemed to me like she always had something up her sleeve. As I child I felt sorry for her and as she grew, she had the shine in her eye, like she was thinking of something. As an adult, she was thinking, always thinking and it didn’t always work out the best for her.
This is the first novel I have read of Sonja Yoerg and now I am curious about her other novels. This sure did pack a punch for me as it provided some intense moments, interesting characters, a great storyline and something to think about. I highly recommend this novel if this topic is one you read.
Thank you NetGalley and Berkley Books for sending me an e-copy of this novel for my review.