The Pieces We Keep by Kristina McMorris
About this book: Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes’s grief over her husband’s untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying – but it’s just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him.
As Jack’s fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack’s dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound – and perhaps, at last, to heal.
About the author: A host of weekly TV shows since age nine, Kristina McMorris’ bestselling first novel, Letters From Home (inspired by her grandparents’ wartime courtship), was declared a must-read by Woman’s Day magazine. Her second novel, Bridge of Scarlet Leaves, was named a 2013 nominee for the prestigious RITA® Award. In all, McMorris has received more than twenty national literary awards. including an Emmy® Award-winning program. The Pieces We Keep is her third novel.
Judge this book by its cover? Hmmm…the cover didn’t do much for me. The scope of the story encompasses so much more than what is suggested here.
If this book were a movie, I would rate it: PG-13. A tiny bit of language and some sex, mostly off camera.
Reminds me of… Jojo Moyes (especially The Girl You Left Behind) and Sarah Jio (especially Blackberry Winter)
You’ll want to buy this book if …you enjoy dual narrative novels that join historical and contemporary plot lines
Why did I read this book? For Kensington Books for review
Would I read another by this author? Yes.
My take: With vivid, emotional language, Kristina McMorris ratchets tension and thrusts her dual-narrative forward from chapter to chapter. Both plot lines–contemporary and historical–contain wrenching plot turns, and each thread carries an equal weight, which gives the overall story a pleasing balance. The author also employs an artful blend of fiction with obscure fact. (If you think everything’s been written about WWII, think again.)
But for all that it has going for it, I didn’t engage as completely with this novel as I’d hoped. Part of the reason may have been because of the lavish care given to developing each point of the story. While the writing is lovely, I found myself wanting the plot to move along more quickly. Then too, the supporting premise of reincarnation falls too far outside my faith to allow it much credence.
Nonetheless, while this novel didn’t move me the way some do, I recognize McMorris’ talent and would look forward to reading more from this gifted novelist.
Thanks to Kensington Books for providing me a free copy to review. All opinions are mine.