Secrets. Every family has them. White Picket Fences by Susan Meissner shows how destructive secrets can be, and how deceptive the image of a “perfect” family can be. This is a moving story with characters that are flawed, real, likeable, ordinary and extra-ordinary. The story flows well, and is difficult to put down. It blends contemporary issues and family problems with the memories, atrocities and sacrifices of the Holocaust. This book is without a doubt one of my favorite novels of the year.
This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.
White Picket Fences
By Susan Meissner
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.
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