As you may have noticed, I have read several books this year that have been on the shelves far too long. I am continuing to do the same because it seems a shame if I miss another lovely read because I am too keen to pick a new book! This is one of those Cinderella books ( left on the shelf).
Today's book, recommended to anyone who loves a well told tale that does not involve murder and mayhem, is by an author I have only read one other of. That was Bel Canto. Ann Patchett seems able to get beneath the skin of people so that you understand easily that what you see is not always what you get.
Doyle is the father of a mixed family and he's a widower. His oldest son Sullivan is white, and living in Africa, seldom home, and then for only very short visits. Why did he leave home? His two younger brothers are adopted, black, and in their late teens. Good school, nice area, they are doing well, and Doyle looks forward to them leading rewarding lives - politicians perhaps? The boys themselves, Tip and Teddy, have other ideas. Tip wants to be a ichthyologist (scientist who studies fish) and Teddy, because of a much loved uncle, is leaning towards the priesthood.
There is another family that has a connection with that one. Tennessee, a single black mother, and her daughter, Kenya. And on the night of a dreadful snowstorm when Tennessee pushes Tip to safely out of the path of an oncoming vehicle, the two families will become linked forever.
There are several threads in these pages, and eventually they will all come together. Patchett has a gentle style, even when things that are not so gentle are being discussed, or when things happen that make the reader silently say "oh no!". But she seems to understand that behind every family there is a story, and behind closed doors there is sometimes a mystery. Liked this one a lot.