Thursday, June 04, 2009

The Lost Hours Perfect for Gentle Summer Days (With a Giveaway!)

Piper Mills barely remembers burying a tin box in the backyard of her grandparents' home. She knew it belonged to her grandmother - that was enough to prevent her from caring. Now, a decade later, she holds the box in her hands. Now, she cares. Now, when Ahlzheimer's has claimed her grandmother's mind, Piper wants answers. Once she thought her grandmother had no stories - now, she knows better. But is it too late to finally understand the enigma who is her grandmother?

This is the conundrum Piper faces in Karen White's new novel, The Lost Hours. The protagonist, a woman haunted by a serious equestrian accident, eagerly ignores her own rehabilitation to focus on the mysteries of her family's past. She knows the answers lie somewhere in her grandmother's childhood, but attempts to question the elderly woman only agitate her. So, Piper turns to her grandmother's old friend, Lillian Harrington-Ross, who shows no desire to re-visit the past. Clearly, the family mystery goes even deeper than Piper first believed. Determined to shake out Lillian's secrets - and thus her grandmother's - Piper infiltrates the old woman's ranch, posing as a renter. Although the idea of being anywhere near a horse scares Piper to death, she knows she can't leave Asphodel Meadows without the answers for which she has come.

As Piper attempts to draw Lillian out, she becomes enmeshed in the household, lured by the matriarch's wise granddaughter; her lively great-grandchildren; and their grief-stricken father. Each, including Piper herself, hides his/her own secrets. But it's Lillian's secrets in which Piper is most interested. Lillian, herself, prefers the past to remain where it belongs - in the past - but something about her mysterious boarder stirs up old memories, memories that refuse to leave her be. The truth about what happened all those years ago will be found, but at what cost? Will Piper's search destroy not one, but two elderly women? Will it bring her closer to the grandmother whom she never really knew? Will her tenacious search for truth finally allow her to heal - or will knowledge of past horrors rip her heart wide open? Piper's journey into her family's past will change her indelibly - will it be worth it?

Books about family secrets always appeal to the voyeur in me. This one tends toward the predictable. It's also a bit far-fetched - I kept wondering how a horse family like Lillian's could not figure out Piper's real identity - but I still found it compelling. The characters are believable, the setting seductive, the mystery intriguing. Although Lillian's truths won't surprise you, White's writing just might - it's poignant, atmospheric and appropriately moody. Her prose gets clunky in places, but overall, it's lovely. Despite some predictable plotting, The Lost Hours provides a very decent read. Although it's a little dark, it ends on a hopeful note, making it a perfect book to enjoy during the gentle days of summer.

Grade: B

P.S. Karen has generously supplied me with 2 copies of The Lost Hours to give away. If you're interested in entering, please leave a comment on this post. The names of two winners will be drawn on June 19 (hubby's birthday). Good luck!

18 comments:

  1. Looks like a good read to me!

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  2. Sounds like a good read. I'd love to win it!

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  3. This book sounds really good. Please enter me. Thanks.

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  4. Looks like a great read. And I sure enjoyed the interview with the author!

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  5. Sounds like a great read! I loved how she wrote 'memory of water' through all of the characters eyes, can't wait to read this one now! Thank you for offering it in a give a way!

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  6. sounds very interesting. Are you willing to ship to Canada if I win the book?

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  7. I forgot to mention that the giveaway is open to readers anywhere in the world. Sorry about that.

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  8. I've been wanting to read this! It sounds intriguing and the cover is so pretty. : )

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  9. I would like to enter! :)

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  10. I'd like to enter, I'm always up for a good summer read.

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  11. This sounds like one I'd like to read!

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  12. Thanks for the review! I'd like to enter please. I just read The House on Tradd Street by Karen White and really enjoyed it.

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  13. I'd love to read this! Thanks for the giveaway!

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  14. This one looks good. I'd love to win!!

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  15. I'm adding this to my list. And am determined to win one of your giveaways someday.

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  16. Me! I'm interested! Thanks!

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