May 21, 2021
This book starts slowly. Set in farm country, New Jersey in 1928. Etta lives on a farm with her father. Art is vacationing in the same area with his family. The book alternates chapters with these 2. Their paths don’t actually cross until the 30% mark of the book.
Each of them leads difficult lives. Etta lives and farms with her father. The rest of her family (mother and siblings) have passed away. Etta works very hard. Art is the gentle, smart one in a group of rough, tough, bully brothers and extended Italian family,
Their relationship starts with a slow burn, neither one of them wise to the ways of the world. Both of them are a little shy and awkward.
I find the writing style in this book a bit wordy. While the descriptive passages of the area paint a vivid picture, I think the same thing could have been achieved with fewer words.
The characters and their evolvement are excellent. Etta’s father is a hard working but sad man of few words. Etta’s friend is self centred, lazy and pouty. Art’s brothers are huge bullies with little respect for anyone else.
This is definitely a character-driven novel. But it seems to meander along. It could be called A Day in the Life of Etta. Or substitute Art., since the chapters alternate. The era seems to be depicted accurately.
There is much to like about this book. The premise is good, the characters are realistic. It was interesting watching Etta’s and Art’s relationship evolve. But, the pacing is off. The ending is abrupt, almost as if the author had enough. There is an Epilogue, but it seems like an afterthought.
Personally, I like a book that is a bit faster paced. But, this book would be perfect for someone who likes to relax within the setting of the book and stroll along with the characters.
A notable quote from the book:
“it’s not so much where you are, but who’s there with you.”
Thank you to the author for providing me with a review copy.