My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Beautifully written, The Pieces We Keep is a moving novel about generations of powerful stories that can’t be held down by time.
Two years have done little to ease veterinarian Audra Hughes’s grief over her husband’s untimely death. Eager for a fresh start, Audra plans to leave Portland for a new job in Philadelphia. Her seven-year-old son, Jack, seems apprehensive about flying—but it’s just the beginning of an anxiety that grows to consume him.
As Jack’s fears continue to surface in recurring and violent nightmares, Audra hardly recognizes the introverted boy he has become. Desperate, she traces snippets of information unearthed in Jack’s dreams, leading her to Sean Malloy, a struggling US Army veteran wounded in Afghanistan. Together they unravel a mystery dating back to World War II, and uncover old family secrets that still have the strength to wound—and perhaps, at last, to heal.
I really enjoyed this novel. I found myself completely understanding the roles that the women in this book found themselves in. The main character Audra, is trying to be a good mother to a child who is having a difficult time while trying to keep herself together as she moves through grief and recovery. She struggles to try to keep her own sanity as her son struggles nightly with terrible dreams. As real life becomes more difficult, she faces that she isn’t even sure she knows how she feels about people, love, and the concepts of an afterlife.
In this multilayered book, you move easily back and forth between eras without feeling like you are spinning. It flows nicely between the two main stories.
As a child, I actually lived with nightly Night Terrors myself and I know how real they feel and how they feel so close to memories that as children we couldn’t have possibly had. I know how even now as an adult I struggle with vivid dreams and sleepwalking issues that feel very physically real to me at the time. So when I saw that this story had a main character, a child, who also had Night Terrors, I was instantly drawn in.
I hadn’t been interested in WWII stories, and likely wouldn’t have thought to read a story related to it. But this one had me wanting to know more. I love that Kristina McMorris uses real news stories and facts as the ground layers of her story. I am a new fan of this extremely talented author and I can’t wait to read more. Kristina McMorris is a bestselling author and recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, as well as a nominee of the prestigious RITA® Award. I will be checking out more of her books this summer.
You can also find Kristina on Twitter like I did. She’s pretty amazing and very sweet. I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. ~ C. ~