Thursday, 4 July 2013

Sleeping in Eden - Nicole Baart

She knew what he wrote . . . 

One little word that made her feel both cheated and beloved. 

One word that changed everything. 


On a chilly morning in the Northwest Iowa town of Blackhawk, Dr. Lucas Hudson is filling in for the vacationing coroner on a seemingly open-and-shut suicide case. His own life is crumbling around him, but when he unearths the body of a woman buried in the barn floor beneath the hanging corpse, he realizes this terrible discovery could change everything. . . . 

Years before Lucas ever set foot in Blackhawk, Meg Painter met Dylan Reid. It was the summer before high school and the two quickly became inseparable. Although Meg's older neighbor, Jess, was the safe choice, she couldn't let go of Dylan no matter how hard she tried. 

Caught in a web of jealousy and deceit that spiraled out of control, Meg's choices in the past ultimately collide with Lucas's discovery in the present, weaving together a taut story of unspoken secrets and the raw, complex passions of innocence lost.

I recently received Sleeping in Eden as a gift from a friend as thanks for helping her with her move. When I read the back, I thought it sounded super interesting and decided to start it after I finished Black Swan Green.

The device used in the novel, that of interweaving two disparate stories that eventually come together, is something I always enjoy. Not only do you get two plot lines to enjoy but you also get the pleasure of trying to figure out for yourself where the characters are going to intersect. When I first started the book, I thought I knew for sure what Meg and Lucas's connection was but within the first fifty pages, a wrench was thrown in the works and I didn't know anymore which made me so happy because I love being wrong when reading.

Both Meg and Lucas's stories were really intriguing despite how different they were. Lucas, although slightly boring as a character, had a great character to play off of in ::spoiler::. His dealings with a new person all the sudden in his house and his already complicated life is what made his story interesting. When I thought it was just going to be him watching his marriage crumble, I was a bit depressed. When some spice was thrown in, I was curious.

Meg, meanwhile, is a great lead. We watch her grow up, from a young girl to a young woman and she has such a delightful personality and is super relatable to anyone who wasn't a girly girl growing up that I found myself always going into her chapters with a smile. I didn't always approve of her choices but I loved her inner monologue and the way she came to her decisions. She was believable and that's what made her a great character.

Perhaps my favorite part of the book, however, was the moment when you realize what the novel is building up to. I always compliment a narrative, be it movie, book, or whatever, that knows that its audience is going to figure out the ending before you get there and uses that to build dramatic tension. About forty pages before the end or so, you realize what's going to happen. With that settles in a moment of dread and as you read the plot go on to its inevitable conclusion, it hits you that much harder. I found myself teary eyed as I finished the book, despite the fact that I had known for a hundred pages what the end was going to be. That's the mark of a good storyteller.

Sleeping in Eden is a sad story but it's a good one, marked with interesting characters and a well developed plot. If you don't mind a few tears, you should check it out.

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