Blue Moon Bay by Lisa Wingate
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Heather Hampton is a career-driven architect who has shut herself off from emotion and family, so a trip to Texas to convince her mother to go through with the plan to sell the family property is a journey she dreads. No one is happy to see her, everyone is keeping secrets from her, and not even a couple of wonderful dates with her high school crush can compensate for the frustration and turmoil she experiences while revisiting the scenes of the worst year of her life. But sometimes the only way through a nightmare is to confront the fear, lest the demons in your imagination keep you paralyzed, even if those demons are Moses Lake church ladies bearing casseroles. Buried secrets are about to explode into the open, changing Heather's perception of long-ago events and present-day realities.
The first two thirds or so of this book are character-driven, full of inner dialogue and angst. The pace picks up in the final third, racing along to the conclusion.
My overall rating for the novel is an average of the highs and lows of different aspects. I was absorbed enough to yell out loud at my car stereo numerous times, such as when Ms. Wingate used the word "smirk" four times in the second half of chapter 15 alone. Or when Heather didn't pay attention to Roger-the-dog's urgent attempts to get her to come outside, and then when she did not call 911 to get help for her brother when he crashed the truck and hit his head. Or when she lied to her mother and uncles about how the truck ended up in the fig tree. Much of the book had me hollering, "Just tell the f-ing TRUTH already," at every one of the characters except Ruth. So 4 stars for my level of involvement, 1 star for the lying and smirking, and 2 stars for the annoying angst, for an average rating of 3 stars.
This is the third Lisa Wingate novel I've read, and it contains more religion than the other two. Thankfully, it's still extremely low on the "preachiness scale," although it seems the author believes in predestination rather than free will.
For readers' advisors: character and story doorways, with setting secondary. No sex or on-screen violence.
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