Night Bird Calling by Cathy Gohlke ~ Review

Review: A heartfelt novel of healing and new beginnings. 

After her mother's funeral Lillianna Grace Swope overhears her abusive husband and father plotting to deal the final blow by locking her away and stealing her inheritance, so she flees to the only living relative she knows of Aunt Hyacinth Belvidere. 

Set in Appalachian town of No Creek during the tenuous year before America's entrance into WWII. Ms. Gohlke captures the rustic small town community struggling to survive in a changing world, with secrets that may well destroy them all. 

In No Creek Lilliana finds a freedom that she never knew existed, forming friendships, finding hope and a sense of purpose. She grows a lot over the course of the book, and has one of the most satisfying character arcs, because it of its heartfelt authenticity. 

 I loved the how this book follows multiple characters, one of my favorite is Celia Percy, an enterprising young girl, forced to grow up quick. She brings an innocence to the story, speaking straightforwardly, and at times acting impulsively but always out of love. Aunt Hyacinth is a pillar if the community, whose heart beats right along with it, her influence overlapping through the generations. I loved her instantly as she welcomes Lilliana with open arms, fighting for her, and giving her a chance at a fresh start. All of the characters who make up No Creek jump off the page, as pieces of their story unfold, weaving in and out, at times intersecting as sins from the past and present collide. If I took time to talk about all the characters that touched my heart this review would be the length of a book!

Heartbreaking and healing, this book  handles some very difficult subjects dealing with abuse, control, and racism, in a way that pack a gut punch, yet infusing thin threads of hope even in the darkest moments, running me through a gambit of emotions. A memorable read that stayed with me long after the last page was turned, and will most assuredly be one of this year's standout novels. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

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