‘Blessings’ turned out to be a charming October read for our Books@One book club- not too tasking, manageable but nonetheless, for the most of us, we considered it to be a pleasant find.
The novel centres around Lydia Blessing; mistress of secrets and the Blessing homestead. A baby arrives on her doorstep and fate intervenes when her newly employed caretaker takes on the role of surrogate parent. Feeling the need to find his own feet in the world, the baby anchors this wayward young man to a life of night time feeds and lullabies. A relationship of sorts develops between Skip and Lydia that seems to bridge the social divide and the loneliness that threatens to encompass them both.
Despite Lydia’s struggle to find a place in this modern world, she remains a relic from a lost era of tennis matches and afternoon brunches. Lydia has lived a life of privilege with everything at her fingertips and yet deprived of the essentials, having been effectively imprisoned within the walls of her colonial mansion for much of her adult life. We see some of Lydia’s former vim and vigour reignite as Faith breathes some life back into the house. The story travels across time and memory as Lydia comes to terms with her past; memories that bring back joy and pain.
We are introduced to a whole host of characters, each with their own tale to tell. Some of our readers were left a little disappointed that the author didn’t utilise or develop the potential of these characters. But perhaps that was intentional. Anna Quindlen, to her credit, neatly sidestepped the cliched happy-ever-after ending. Her accessible writing presented a memorable setting, a languid melancholy corner of a sleepy nondescript Southern backwater town.
The subplot concerning her beloved brother was a worthwhile addition and raised important questions concerning how blessed we truly are when we are free to be who we choose and how blessed we are to love where we choose.
Despite lacking a little intensity and depth at times in her writing, Anna stills asks the reader to think about the influence our backgrounds have on us across our lifetimes and if we can trust ourselves to make the right call when it truly matters.
Next up for our book club is the novel
‘The Sisters Brothers’ by Patrick
deWitt set in the Old West. We meet the Sister brothers- Charlie and Eli, two notorious assassins. This is the second novel by Canadian born Patrick.
I’d hold on tight to your hat for this one folks.
Both books are available for purchase in Books@One along with a whole host of other titles.