- Book Beginnings on Fridays hosted by Rose City Reader, where bloggers share the first sentence or more of a current read, as well as initial thoughts about the sentence(s), impressions of the book, or anything else that the opening inspires.
- The Friday 56 hosted by Freda's Voice, where you grab a book and turn to page 56 (or 56% of an eBook), find one or more interesting sentences (no spoilers), and post them.
Today I'm featuring my current read, What Comes After by JoAnne Tompkins. The excerpts shared are from a hardcover version borrowed from the library.
Beginning: First, the raw facts.
A week into his senior year, my son failed to come home after football practice. When he hadn't appeared by morning, I called Daniel's mother, Katherine. She walked off her nursing shift, drove six hours from Spokane and boarded a ferry to Port Furlong. By the time she was pulling up my drive, Gary Barton, the sheriff, was pulling out. I had contacted him when calls to friends and relations turned up nothing. Gary, a gruff, efficient man, had, in the span of a few hours, recruited and organized two dozen people to start a search.
Page 56: Saplings--ten, twelve feet tall--leaned over the trail, blocked the last of the evening light. Daniel kept stooping to avoid branches, each time grabbing and holding them back for Evangeline. The foliage grew so dense it was hard to see.
My thoughts: The plot pulled me in immediately, and I am completely immersed in the characters and the unfolding story.
In misty, coastal Washington State, Isaac lives alone with his dog, grieving the recent death of his teenage son, Daniel. Next door, Lorrie, a working single mother, struggles with a heinous act committed by her own teenage son. Separated by only a silvery stretch of trees, the two parents are emotionally stranded, isolated by their great losses--until an unfamiliar sixteen-year-old girl shows up, bridges the gap, and changes everything.
Evangeline's arrival at first feels like a blessing, but she is also clearly hiding something. When Isaac, who has retreated into his Quaker faith, isn't equipped to handle her alone, Lorrie forges her own relationship with the girl. Soon all three characters are forced to examine what really happened in their overlapping pasts, and what it all possibly means for a shared future.
With a propulsive mystery at its core, What Comes After offers an unforgettable story of loss and anger, but also of kindness and hope, courage and forgiveness. It is a deeply moving account of strangers and friends not only helping each other forward after tragedy, but inspiring a new kind of family.
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