The Quickening by Michelle Hoover

This is a lovely novel, but an ominous one. From the very first page, you can feel something gathering like a dust cloud on the horizon.

It is set in the late twenties/early thirties, for the most part, beginning with a grandmother penciling the story of her life. Loss is imminent from page one.

Yet the writing is so very beautiful it seems worth the journey to carry on toward the terrible sorrow for which we are headed. There is description of the earth, the raising of hogs, the hard work of honest living especially during the Depression. There are two couples, neighbors on a broad expanse of land, whose wives are telling this story from her own point of view. First one, then the next.

Each wife copes with much. Physical labor to be sure, but also disappointment. Miscarriages for one, an abusive husband for another. Both of them have children who cannot be contained in their parents’ love. For as every mother knows, we are ultimately powerless to keep our children safe.

It’s taken me many hours of this read-a-thon day to read the mere 215 pages which this book contains. But it has been time well spent, as in closing the last page I feel I’ve lived their lives.

Lives which break my heart.