18 years ago, on a fiercely hot August day, three twelve year-olds swore a pact to always be there for each other. Standing in the tangle of grass and bushes, close by the railroad tracks, they sandwiched their sticky hands and swore in the blood of a thousand blackberries.
That is how this book begins. And this first chapter, with the three friends, plus kid sister Tigger, don't intrigue you then nothing will.
Now almost two decades later, all three of them are together again in Prospect, Georgia. So much has changed, so much water has flowed under the bridges of their childhood, and yet the same feelings that haunted their early summers still surround them.
There is that feeling of warning, desperation, and foreboding.
Sean, the youngest son of a violent drunk, was the skinny boy with the bruises running up his arms and the scars on his face. Now he's a talented craftsman whose instruments belong in the hands of fine musicians. Dale, the father who never deserved his title, still lingers on the edge of Sean's life- always appearing and re-opening old wounds.
Cassie, a privileged child, whose parents seemed so fun and easy going. Now her own marriage is sailing near the rocks and she's back in town to help her dad deal with her mom's sudden unraveling.
At least Cassie still has a mom to be with. Laura is is back home to tie up her mother's affairs after her death a month ago. Losing a parent is never a simple, bloodless process, but Laura has some practice. When she was eighteen, her Dad went missing, presumed drowned, on Hamlin Lake.
It turns out that Mom may just have left Laura more than a garden full of daylilies and a geriatric possum-colored cat. She may have left a heap of choices and consequences, just beginning to come to light, and a pile of secrets that won't be easy to hear.
A Stillness of Chimes is a great novel with several themes that specifically appealed to me. It is set in the South- with wonderful descriptions of the climate and place. It is a tale of family revelations, family history, the search for belonging, love and loyalty, and has a strong mystery. It's actually kind of a chilling book, in a good way. It makes for some suspenseful reading.
Also, this book is one of the few modern novels from Christian publishers that I have encountered that deals with the Vietnam War on any level.
I'm really glad Meg Moseley included this in her book. The bloody jungles never left Elliot Gantt, and he was the most thought-provoking character I have read about in a while. When Laura began looking at the smoky-blue Georgia hills and wondering if a man accustomed to raw survival could have disappeared into the wilderness, I knew this would be a different story than any other I had read.
I wasn't disappointed.
Thank you Waterbrook for my review copy.