Thursday, November 12, 2009
White Picket Fences
Title: WHITE PICKET FENCES
Author: Susan Meissner
Publisher: Waterbrook Press
Genre: Inspirational/women’s fiction
Tally’s father has discovered the possibility of treasure buried in Poland, treasure that belonged to his great-grandfather who died in a Jewish concentration camp. So, he leaves his seventeen year old daughter in the car of her maternal grandmother and heads off to Poland. But within days of being left, Tally’s grandmother dies. Unable to locate Tally’s father, the state sends her to live with her virtually unknown aunt and uncle.
For all appearances, Amanda Janvier and her family have the perfect family. Two kids, a dog, and a house with a white picket fence. But things are not always as they seem. A horrific secret lies in their seventeen year old son, Chase’s, life, and Amanda and her husband don’t want to talk about it or even to remember it.
A school project has Tally and Chase working together. When they interview two Holocaust survivors they become shockingly aware that the whole family grapples with hidden secrets – and the past could destroy them all…
WHITE PICKET FENCES was a very well written book by a talented author who had the ability to take many different story lines and weave them together in away that read seamlessly. There was one thread left unaddressed in my opinion, but that also opened the door for a potential sequel to this book.
I enjoyed getting to know Tally, Andrea, Chase, and most especially the two Holocaust survivors. I enjoyed reading about their story, which was based on a very real event from the past. I highly recommend WHITE PICKET FENCES as a book that will stay with you, a story you won’t soon forget, with realistic characters who are so very well developed they could be your next door neighbors. An interview with Susan Meissner is included at the end of the book. $13.99. 350 pages.
Amanda Janvier’s idyllic home seems the perfect place for her niece Tally to stay while her vagabond brother is in Europe, but the white picket fence life Amanda wants to provide is a mere illusion. Amanda’s husband Neil refuses to admit their teenage son Chase, is haunted by the horrific fire he survived when he was four, and their marriage is crumbling while each looks the other way.
Tally and Chase bond as they interview two Holocaust survivors for a sociology project, and become startlingly aware that the whole family is grappling with hidden secrets, with the echoes of the past, and with the realization that ignoring tragic situations won’t make them go away.
Readers of emotional dramas that are willing to explore the lies that families tell each other for protection and comfort will love White Picket Fences. The novel is ideal for those who appreciate exploring questions like: what type of honesty do children need from their parents, or how can one move beyond a past that isn’t acknowledged or understood? Is there hope and forgiveness for the tragedies of our past and a way to abundant grace?
Susan Meissner cannot remember a time when she wasn’t driven to put her thoughts down on paper. Her novel The Shape of Mercy was a Publishers Weekly pick for best religious fiction of 2008 and a Christian Book Award finalist. Susan and her husband live in Southern California , where he is a pastor and a chaplain in the Air Force Reserves. They are the parents of four grown children.