By: Karen White
Published Year: 2018
I received a copy of this in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion of this book.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): It's been nine years since Larkin fled Georgetown, South Carolina, vowing never to go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she knows she has no choice but to return to the place that she both loves and dreads--and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home. Ivy, Larkin's mother, is discovered in the burned-out wreckage of her family's ancestral rice plantation, badly injured and unconscious. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly 50 years. Secrets that lead back to the past, to the friendship between three girls on the brink of womanhood who swore that they would be friends forever, but who found that vow tested in heartbreaking ways.
This is my third Karen White novel. I think she has some of the prettiest covers and I always find myself drawn to them. I enjoyed her first one a lot, felt meh about the second one I read, so I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about this one. However, the cover and the summary won me over.
What I thought
There was definitely something magical about this book that just spoke to me.
Larkin left home 9 years ago and has spent her time in New York reinventing herself. When her mom, Ivy, has an accident that forces Larkin to come back home, she is forced to face her past and the decisions that she had run from. CeeCee raised both Ivy and Larkin after Ivy’s mother passed away. CeeCee, Margaret (Ivy’s mother) and Bitty were best friends when they were young and now their past and secrets that they’ve been hiding for over 50 years are coming back to haunt them.
I love the way that White overlaps the past stories with the present. The main story alternates between the perspectives of Larkin, Ivy, and CeeCee in the present, and then it flashes back to CeeCee’s perspective throughout different chapters.
Larkin could be a very annoying character, but she has a self-awareness which makes her more likeable. I always have a little bit of an issue with people who, based off of a single event (or maybe two), leave their lives behind and never return. I mean, I get that she was 18 when she left and therefore a bit immature, but the fact that she has barely even been in contact with her mom and CeeCee and avoided her dad for 9 years is a bit much. It just makes me roll my eyes a little bit like, come on. Face your issues like an adult. However! Larkin mentions that she has been in therapy in New York and has been trying to change herself, which makes me feel better. She acknowledges a lot of her faults which, if she was completely oblivious would be very irritating.
At first, I wasn’t crazy about the flashback storyline, because I wanted to know what made Larkin run away and why Ivy was at Carrowmore (the home where she was injured), so the past just felt like it was taking me away from that. As the story went on, it actually became one of my favorite parts of the story. I loved learning about Margaret, Bitty, and CeeCee’s relationship and who they were as young adults.
As is common with White’s novels, there are multiple mysteries for the reader ad some for the characters as well. I did figure out one of them, but it wasn’t too far ahead of when it was revealed. There were bits of each mystery though that were still not what I expected. It was enough to keep things moving and interesting, but not so much that it was irritating or frustrating.