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A Sudden Light by Garth Stein ~ Review

Book Synopsis:

When a boy tries to save his parents’ marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story by the author of the internationally bestselling phenomenon, The Art of Racing in the Rain.

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel—who is flickering in and out of dementia—to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into “tract housing for millionaires,” divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But Trevor soon discovers there’s someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah’s wish is fulfilled, and Trevor’s willingness to face the past holds the key to his family’s future.

A Sudden Light is a rich, atmospheric work that is at once a multigenerational family saga, a historical novel, a ghost story, and the story of a contemporary family’s struggle to connect with each other. A tribute to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, it reflects Garth Stein’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation, and his rare ability to see the unseen: the universal threads that connect us all

In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle’s Puget Sound. Trevor’s bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.

But as Trevor explores the house’s secret stairways and hidden rooms, he discovers a spirit lingering in Riddell House whose agenda is at odds with the family plan. Only Trevor’s willingness to face the dark past of his forefathers will reveal the key to his family’s future.

Spellbinding and atmospheric, A Sudden Light is rich with unconventional characters, scenes of transcendent natural beauty, and unforgettable moments of emotional truth that reflect Garth Stein’s outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation—a triumphant work of a master storyteller at the height of his power. - See more at: http://books.simonandschuster.ca/Sudden-Light/Garth-Stein/9781439187036?intcmp=#sthash.09NGNx23.dpuf

Purchase a copy on Simon & Schuster Canada

About the Author:

Garth Stein is the author of three novels: The Art of Racing in the Rain (Harper, 2008); How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets (Soho Press, 2005), which won a 2006 Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Book Award, and was a Book Sense Pick in both hardcover and paperback; and Raven Stole the Moon (Pocket, 1998). He has also written a full-length play, Brother Jones, which received its first production in Los Angeles, in February, 2005, and was described as "brimming with intensity," by the L.A. Weekly.

After receiving his B.A. from Columbia College (1987), and his M.F.A. in film from Columbia University, School of the Arts (1990), Garth worked as a documentary film maker for several years, and directed, produced or co-produced several award winning films.

Born in Los Angeles and raised in Seattle, Garth's ancestry is diverse: his mother, a native of Alaska, is of Tlingit Indian and Irish descent; his father, a Brooklyn native, is the child of Jewish emigrants from Austria. After spending his childhood in Seattle and then living in New York City for 18 years, Garth returned to Seattle, where he currently lives with his family and his dog, Comet


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Review: 

This is the first book I have read of Garth Stein's and I absolutely loved this story. It is really different from what I have been reading. I haven't read a ghost/spirit story in a very long time but this one was really refreshing. It wasn't at all scary but it was super intriguing. I was super busy when I started to read this book and it took me a lot longer than normal with all the life events going on but it was a really easy book to pick up from where you left off and not be lost on the storyline. Trevor is a very mature 14 year old and Serena is not my favourite character at all. I actually really liked Grampa Samual and felt really horrible for him to be cared by Serena. She always seemed like she had other intentions for everyone in the family. The history behind the family and their house is a fabulous story and one that I don't think would be typical. It was super believable and I love how the author has Trevor telling the story about when he was a boy staying with his dad at Riddell House. The writing style flows well and holds the readers attention with great detail and kept me wanting to know more about Ben and Harry along with the rest of the Riddell family.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars and can't wait to read more by Garth Stein.
 

~*Disclaimer: This post was written by Genuine Jenn. I received the above book for review purpose. All opinions are honest and my own.*~

2 comments:

  1. I soooooooooo wanna read this book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is really good! I am having a hard time packing for conference and not parking myself on the couch to finish it!

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