Thursday, November 28, 2019

Dovetail

Dovetail. Karen McQuestion. 2020. [March] 352 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence: Time has a way of evening things out. I was beautiful once, turning heads and garnering admiring glances, but now I would not stand out in a group of my peers.

Premise/plot: Joe Arneson, our hero, is a reluctant patient at Trendale Psychiatric Treatment Center. He’s been having vivid nightmares, recurring nightmares, four of them. Doctors are stumped. His family is stumped. Joe feels that since the doctors are clueless and therapy clearly isn’t working, he should be able to leave. When the novel opens, he’s about to be released into the care of his Grandma. The problem? Joe has always believed that his grandma was dead. But Grandma Pearl is very much alive...though she is dying. She wants to hire Joe to clean up, clean out her house so it can be sold. He’s confused but willing. His time at the family home will bring him much closer to the woman running the local secondhand store/shop. The summer of 1983 may prove unforgettable.

My thoughts: This mystery-thriller has two time settings: 1983 and 1916. The 1916 story focuses on the tension between Pearl and her older sister, Alice, as Alice falls in love for the first (and only) time. Their father has hired a young man, John Lawrence, for the summer. Pearl thinks that she is a thousand times more beautiful than her sister, so the new guy in town should fall madly in love with her...if not at first sight, soon thereafter. But. John only has eyes for the sweet and selfless Alice. Is all fair in love and war?!

Pearl ties these two stories together—in a way. Though Joe and his nightmares are crucial to putting the two halves together.

I read this one quickly—perhaps two days. The short chapters kept me reading at a steady pace giving at least the illusion of great suspense. But is the book truly suspenseful or is it predictable? Does it matter if it is predictable? I think the story idea isn’t unoriginal. I liked that it was set in the past—1916 and 1983. I could see where the story was heading very early on. Perhaps a third of the way through. Once you’ve pieced one piece of the puzzle in place, it’s obvious what will unfold in both stories. But. Knowing didn’t stop me from reading and reading quickly. Even though I felt I knew every twist and turn coming. It was like being on your favorite roller coaster ride. You know exactly what is ahead, but it’s still an enjoyable experience worth standing in line for.

I have tried to avoid spoilers in my review. I don’t know if I’d recommend reading the jacket flap either. The more you can delay knowing, the more you may enjoy it. But you may be like me and enjoy it regardless. Perhaps surprising twists and turns are overrated.

“Tell Pearl what you told me. About the joints that hold it together.” She set Daisy down and ran her fingers over the corner of the chest. She looked up at Pearl. “They’re called dovetail joints. Dovetail. Doesn’t that sound beautiful?” “I guess.” Their father said, “The sides of the hope chest are connected using dovetail joints. The edges are cut in a pattern, so one side slides into the other. Wide tails and narrow pins are what they’re called. It works almost like this.” He clasped his hands together, fingers interwoven. “Once the two pieces are glued together, the place where they’re joined is stronger than the wood itself. Your mother always thought it was perfect for a hope chest, because when a couple is married, they are stronger together than they were when separate.” As so often happened when he mentioned their mother, emotion overcame him. “It’s very difficult to break the connected pieces once they’re locked in place. A dovetail joint can stand the test of time.”

I’ve long believed that no one should be judged on the worst thing they’ve ever done. And not on the best thing either, for that matter.” She sighed. “Human beings are much more complex than one event that happened on one day in a very long life.



© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

0 comments:

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP