Friday 22 November 2013

The Longings of Wayward Girls

Finished November 17
The Longings of Wayward Girls by Karen Brown

This novel moves back and forth between the summer of 1979 and the same area twenty years later, with additional news items from 1974.
In 1974 a young girl disappears on her way home from a friend's house and is never seen again. In the same neighbourhood in 1979, Sadie lives with her parents, a girl with an imagination who leads her friends on a variety of inventive activities from outfitting the nearby woods with a tour of Halloween-like scenes, neighbour kids drafted in as actors in the macabre scenes, Sadie convinces her closest friend to trick another girl, one who family background makes her different, into engaging in a correspondence of hidden notes. The notes are supposed to be from a young farm boy in the area, but are really from Sadie and her friend. But as the notes from the girl grow increasingly troubling, another tragedy is set in motion.
Twenty years later, Sadie lives nearby with her husband and two children. Her recent loss of a child in stillbirth has made her vulnerable and when a man she had a crush on in her youth pursues her, she finds it hard to say no. But as Sadie struggles with her own troubled past and this man's troubled present, she also learns the value of what she has now.
This is an interesting story of girls and women who struggle with the reality of their lives as opposed to fantasy lives they might have had. This is a story of depression, of longing for what one doesn't have, of looking to the other side of the fence. But there is also hope and vulnerability, and people who care.
A good read.

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