Tuesday, July 18, 2017

#SRC2017 Book Review: Eden by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg (audio)



Title: Eden
Author: Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg
Narrator: Marnye Young
Published: May 2017, Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg / She Writes Press
Length: 9 hours 56 minutes / 336 pages
Source: Personal copy via Audible / Netgalley via Publisher

Becca Meister Fitzpatrick—wife, mother, grandmother, and pillar of the community—is the dutiful steward of her family’s iconic summer tradition . . . until she discovers her recently deceased husband squandered their nest egg. As she struggles to accept that this is likely her last season in Long Harbor, Becca is inspired by her granddaughter’s boldness in the face of impending single-motherhood, and summons the courage to reveal a secret she was forced to bury long ago: the existence of a daughter she gave up fifty years ago. The question now is how her other daughter, Rachel—with whom Becca has always had a strained relationship—will react.

Eden is the account of the days leading up to the Fourth of July weekend, as Becca prepares to disclose her secret and her son and brothers conspire to put the estate on the market, interwoven with the century-old history of Becca’s family—her parents’ beginnings and ascent into affluence, and her mother’s own secret struggles in the grand home her father named “Eden.”

My thoughts: This is Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg's debut novel and I found myself totally invested in this family saga from start to finish. And the way the author skillfully used the house, Eden, as an anchor, was just brilliant. Oh how I would love to live at Eden - or at least visit it for a while!

The book moves back and forth in time, introducing us to a cast of characters, a group of women who are equally strong and complex. They all have their issues and it was interesting how the author used the issues of the day to help tell her story. This book spans so many decades that there are so many issues relevant to each of the pertinent time periods. Hiding diagnoses of epilepsy, sending single pregnant young girls away, keeping diagnoses of depression hidden - these were all dealt with very differently than they are today and JMB kept true to the standards of the time period she was writing in.

The book pulls you in to this multigenerational family saga, weaving back and forth with a thread that connects the two. Just as we start to find out something in the present, the story moves back to the past. There are definitely secrets here - almost everyone is hiding something - and ever so slowly these secrets come to light. This just goes to show that all families - no matter the status or the wealth - has secrets!

This book will make you think and feel. It's emotional and as you read about what these women go through...it will make you think what choices you would make were you in that position. You will also find yourself thinking about these characters when you are not reading this book - I haven't stopped thinking about them since I finished the book...these are memorable characters! The relationships that JMB has created between them are authentic and relatable. 

I really enjoyed this book and cannot wait to see what comes next from Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg!


Audio thoughts:
This is the first time I've listened to Marnye Young and I thought she did a great job! There were so many characters and Marnye was able to give each one their own unique voice and personality. Her inflections and pacing were great and I will definitely be looking to see what else she has narrated.




Eden  by Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg is one of  BookSparks "Summer Reads" reading selection picks. 
  
 Follow the #SRC2017 hashtag on twitter to read reviews on this book as well as reviews on the other summer books! Also, be sure to check out the BookSparks Facebook page for the #SRC2017  and other fun links. You can participate in weekly secret missions for chances to win signed copies of selected books and more! There's a new secret mission each week :)


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