Saturday, October 20, 2012

Blood Wounds by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Willa lives with her mother, stepfather, and two stepsisters. She's happy in her life, even though she's aware of certain advantages her stepsisters have that she doesn't given their wealthy mother. None of that seems to matter when Willa's father, whom she hasn't seen since she was four, disappears after murdering his family. Fearful that he might come after her, the bonds of her blended family get tested. When the threat is over, Willa begins a journey to discover what it means to be connected to a man capable of killing his family and how that will affect the family she's grown up with.

This book was an enjoyable and quick read. It digs deep into family connections - the ones from blood and the ones created out of love. Most of this book is about Willa returning to her father's hometown, the town her mother desperately tried to escape. Willa goes out of duty to the dead sisters she never knew about in search of meaning behind what happened and how it affects her. Some of the legalise in terms of inheritance seemed really confusing and not entirely realistic if you ask me, but I'm not a lawyer so maybe it is all legitimate. It helps wrap up some issues later on in the novel, so whatever works (this is fiction after all). The characters are complex without being developed enough. Because the novel goes so quickly, it almost feels as if there isn't enough time for the more complex relationships to develop and get resolved, like the relationships between her and her stepsisters. Even with Willa, the writer throws in a certain self-destructive behavior at the beginning and end of the novel and seems to forget about it in the middle. Even the resolution of that problem seems too easy. Everything seems to get wrapped up in a neat bow at the end when there are clearly still issues these characters need to deal with.

The book is good, but it didn't send me over the moon. It definitely could have delved deeper into family dynamics. In the end, it is a decent book but not entirely memorable.

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