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The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
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The Weight of Blood

by Laura McHugh

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Book Review of The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh – Uncorrected eBook file.

Lucy Dane is 16 growing up in Henbane, a small town in the Ozark Mountains. When her slow-minded friend goes missing she is unsettled that her disappearance is credited to her running away. Her own mother Lila, an outsider who married into a family with deep roots, disappeared when she was a baby. As Lucy tries to find out what happened to Cheri after her body is found, her hunt encompasses Lila’s disappearance, and the more she uncovers, the deeper the lies unfold in her family and the town. It is also Lila’s own story before she disappeared. This is a story about families, people trafficking, crime mysteryand violence.

What I liked best?

This book pulls no punches about the dark, cold and violent nature of trafficking, and enthrals you with its unfolding tense mystery.

I like the way that Laura McHugh embellishes the characters to make them whole and not just incidental people. People aren’t black and white, and she challenges our wishes to see them as such. Crete’s character for instance is a mixture of ruthless corruption, and tenderness for Lucy who he believes could be his daughter.

I also like the way there is no apology for the behaviour of the characters in the story, this enabled me to have my own interpretation of them.

Because each chapter is dedicated to individual people highlighting their part in the story, it paints a comprehensive picture of their entwined lives and makes the people in the town real, with characters you can recognise from any small town anywhere.

I love the language McHugh’s uses to convey the localism. There are some brilliant lines in the book that shows such a broad understanding of life. For example; as Lucy is being comforted by Daniel, she writes the beautiful line: ‘I let myself get lost in the moment, looking neither forward nor back, seeking nothing absent but embracing what was right in front of me.’ You will find other gems scattered throughout.
McHugh manages to express perfectly the general atmosphere of a small town and families with roots that grew deep over time. Choosing to tell the story by characters, she has given the reader a more intimate knowledge of each person. People who love stories about families and crime mystery will love this book.

What I did not like about the book?

This is based on my own personal reading preferences alone.

I think the first line of the book is not as powerful as the second sentence – One Saturday in March, fog crept through the river valley and froze overnight. This is the line that would make me want to read on.

Both Lucy and Lila’s chapters being written in the first person confused me a little. Yes, it connected me as a reader to each of them more intimately, but picking up the book after a night to continue reading I had to consciously focus on whom I was reading about, Lila or Lucy? It made them almost
merge into one person but perhaps this may have been intentional? A small header at the top of the page with the chapter’s name would immediately bring to memory whose story was being told.

The surname of each character is discarded at the beginning and confusing when a surname (Mrs Stoddard) was suddenly used later on which I had not remembered, although it did become clear later on. Somehow my memory remembered the Christian names but not the surnames!

I both loved and disliked the way this book challenged my perception of how I was absorbing it. Jumping back and forwards in time, combined with each chapter being a different person contributed to that.

My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review
( )
  greatbookescapes | Nov 20, 2014 |
Book Review of The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh – Uncorrected eBook file.

Lucy Dane is 16 growing up in Henbane, a small town in the Ozark Mountains. When her slow-minded friend goes missing she is unsettled that her disappearance is credited to her running away. Her own mother Lila, an outsider who married into a family with deep roots, disappeared when she was a baby. As Lucy tries to find out what happened to Cheri after her body is found, her hunt encompasses Lila’s disappearance, and the more she uncovers, the deeper the lies unfold in her family and the town. It is also Lila’s own story before she disappeared. This is a story about families, people trafficking, crime mysteryand violence.

What I liked best?

This book pulls no punches about the dark, cold and violent nature of trafficking, and enthrals you with its unfolding tense mystery.

I like the way that Laura McHugh embellishes the characters to make them whole and not just incidental people. People aren’t black and white, and she challenges our wishes to see them as such. Crete’s character for instance is a mixture of ruthless corruption, and tenderness for Lucy who he believes could be his daughter.

I also like the way there is no apology for the behaviour of the characters in the story, this enabled me to have my own interpretation of them.

Because each chapter is dedicated to individual people highlighting their part in the story, it paints a comprehensive picture of their entwined lives and makes the people in the town real, with characters you can recognise from any small town anywhere.

I love the language McHugh’s uses to convey the localism. There are some brilliant lines in the book that shows such a broad understanding of life. For example; as Lucy is being comforted by Daniel, she writes the beautiful line: ‘I let myself get lost in the moment, looking neither forward nor back, seeking nothing absent but embracing what was right in front of me.’ You will find other gems scattered throughout.
McHugh manages to express perfectly the general atmosphere of a small town and families with roots that grew deep over time. Choosing to tell the story by characters, she has given the reader a more intimate knowledge of each person. People who love stories about families and crime mystery will love this book.

What I did not like about the book?

This is based on my own personal reading preferences alone.

I think the first line of the book is not as powerful as the second sentence – One Saturday in March, fog crept through the river valley and froze overnight. This is the line that would make me want to read on.

Both Lucy and Lila’s chapters being written in the first person confused me a little. Yes, it connected me as a reader to each of them more intimately, but picking up the book after a night to continue reading I had to consciously focus on whom I was reading about, Lila or Lucy? It made them almost
merge into one person but perhaps this may have been intentional? A small header at the top of the page with the chapter’s name would immediately bring to memory whose story was being told.

The surname of each character is discarded at the beginning and confusing when a surname (Mrs Stoddard) was suddenly used later on which I had not remembered, although it did become clear later on. Somehow my memory remembered the Christian names but not the surnames!

I both loved and disliked the way this book challenged my perception of how I was absorbing it. Jumping back and forwards in time, combined with each chapter being a different person contributed to that.

My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review
( )
  greatbookescapes | Nov 20, 2014 |
Book Review of The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh – Uncorrected eBook file.

Lucy Dane is 16 growing up in Henbane, a small town in the Ozark Mountains. When her slow-minded friend goes missing she is unsettled that her disappearance is credited to her running away. Her own mother Lila, an outsider who married into a family with deep roots, disappeared when she was a baby. As Lucy tries to find out what happened to Cheri after her body is found, her hunt encompasses Lila’s disappearance, and the more she uncovers, the deeper the lies unfold in her family and the town. It is also Lila’s own story before she disappeared. This is a story about families, people trafficking, crime mysteryand violence.

What I liked best?

This book pulls no punches about the dark, cold and violent nature of trafficking, and enthrals you with its unfolding tense mystery.

I like the way that Laura McHugh embellishes the characters to make them whole and not just incidental people. People aren’t black and white, and she challenges our wishes to see them as such. Crete’s character for instance is a mixture of ruthless corruption, and tenderness for Lucy who he believes could be his daughter.

I also like the way there is no apology for the behaviour of the characters in the story, this enabled me to have my own interpretation of them.

Because each chapter is dedicated to individual people highlighting their part in the story, it paints a comprehensive picture of their entwined lives and makes the people in the town real, with characters you can recognise from any small town anywhere.

I love the language McHugh’s uses to convey the localism. There are some brilliant lines in the book that shows such a broad understanding of life. For example; as Lucy is being comforted by Daniel, she writes the beautiful line: ‘I let myself get lost in the moment, looking neither forward nor back, seeking nothing absent but embracing what was right in front of me.’ You will find other gems scattered throughout.
McHugh manages to express perfectly the general atmosphere of a small town and families with roots that grew deep over time. Choosing to tell the story by characters, she has given the reader a more intimate knowledge of each person. People who love stories about families and crime mystery will love this book.

What I did not like about the book?

This is based on my own personal reading preferences alone.

I think the first line of the book is not as powerful as the second sentence – One Saturday in March, fog crept through the river valley and froze overnight. This is the line that would make me want to read on.

Both Lucy and Lila’s chapters being written in the first person confused me a little. Yes, it connected me as a reader to each of them more intimately, but picking up the book after a night to continue reading I had to consciously focus on whom I was reading about, Lila or Lucy? It made them almost
merge into one person but perhaps this may have been intentional? A small header at the top of the page with the chapter’s name would immediately bring to memory whose story was being told.

The surname of each character is discarded at the beginning and confusing when a surname (Mrs Stoddard) was suddenly used later on which I had not remembered, although it did become clear later on. Somehow my memory remembered the Christian names but not the surnames!

I both loved and disliked the way this book challenged my perception of how I was absorbing it. Jumping back and forwards in time, combined with each chapter being a different person contributed to that.

My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review
( )
  greatbookescapes | Nov 20, 2014 |
Book Review of The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh – Uncorrected eBook file.

Lucy Dane is 16 growing up in Henbane, a small town in the Ozark Mountains. When her slow-minded friend goes missing she is unsettled that her disappearance is credited to her running away. Her own mother Lila, an outsider who married into a family with deep roots, disappeared when she was a baby. As Lucy tries to find out what happened to Cheri after her body is found, her hunt encompasses Lila’s disappearance, and the more she uncovers, the deeper the lies unfold in her family and the town. It is also Lila’s own story before she disappeared. This is a story about families, people trafficking, crime mysteryand violence.

What I liked best?

This book pulls no punches about the dark, cold and violent nature of trafficking, and enthrals you with its unfolding tense mystery.

I like the way that Laura McHugh embellishes the characters to make them whole and not just incidental people. People aren’t black and white, and she challenges our wishes to see them as such. Crete’s character for instance is a mixture of ruthless corruption, and tenderness for Lucy who he believes could be his daughter.

I also like the way there is no apology for the behaviour of the characters in the story, this enabled me to have my own interpretation of them.

Because each chapter is dedicated to individual people highlighting their part in the story, it paints a comprehensive picture of their entwined lives and makes the people in the town real, with characters you can recognise from any small town anywhere.

I love the language McHugh’s uses to convey the localism. There are some brilliant lines in the book that shows such a broad understanding of life. For example; as Lucy is being comforted by Daniel, she writes the beautiful line: ‘I let myself get lost in the moment, looking neither forward nor back, seeking nothing absent but embracing what was right in front of me.’ You will find other gems scattered throughout.
McHugh manages to express perfectly the general atmosphere of a small town and families with roots that grew deep over time. Choosing to tell the story by characters, she has given the reader a more intimate knowledge of each person. People who love stories about families and crime mystery will love this book.

What I did not like about the book?

This is based on my own personal reading preferences alone.

I think the first line of the book is not as powerful as the second sentence – One Saturday in March, fog crept through the river valley and froze overnight. This is the line that would make me want to read on.

Both Lucy and Lila’s chapters being written in the first person confused me a little. Yes, it connected me as a reader to each of them more intimately, but picking up the book after a night to continue reading I had to consciously focus on whom I was reading about, Lila or Lucy? It made them almost
merge into one person but perhaps this may have been intentional? A small header at the top of the page with the chapter’s name would immediately bring to memory whose story was being told.

The surname of each character is discarded at the beginning and confusing when a surname (Mrs Stoddard) was suddenly used later on which I had not remembered, although it did become clear later on. Somehow my memory remembered the Christian names but not the surnames!

I both loved and disliked the way this book challenged my perception of how I was absorbing it. Jumping back and forwards in time, combined with each chapter being a different person contributed to that.

My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review
( )
  greatbookescapes | Nov 20, 2014 |
Book Review of The Weight of Blood, Laura McHugh – Uncorrected eBook file.

Lucy Dane is 16 growing up in Henbane, a small town in the Ozark Mountains. When her slow-minded friend goes missing she is unsettled that her disappearance is credited to her running away. Her own mother Lila, an outsider who married into a family with deep roots, disappeared when she was a baby. As Lucy tries to find out what happened to Cheri after her body is found, her hunt encompasses Lila’s disappearance, and the more she uncovers, the deeper the lies unfold in her family and the town. It is also Lila’s own story before she disappeared. This is a story about families, people trafficking, crime mysteryand violence.

What I liked best?

This book pulls no punches about the dark, cold and violent nature of trafficking, and enthrals you with its unfolding tense mystery.

I like the way that Laura McHugh embellishes the characters to make them whole and not just incidental people. People aren’t black and white, and she challenges our wishes to see them as such. Crete’s character for instance is a mixture of ruthless corruption, and tenderness for Lucy who he believes could be his daughter.

I also like the way there is no apology for the behaviour of the characters in the story, this enabled me to have my own interpretation of them.

Because each chapter is dedicated to individual people highlighting their part in the story, it paints a comprehensive picture of their entwined lives and makes the people in the town real, with characters you can recognise from any small town anywhere.

I love the language McHugh’s uses to convey the localism. There are some brilliant lines in the book that shows such a broad understanding of life. For example; as Lucy is being comforted by Daniel, she writes the beautiful line: ‘I let myself get lost in the moment, looking neither forward nor back, seeking nothing absent but embracing what was right in front of me.’ You will find other gems scattered throughout.
McHugh manages to express perfectly the general atmosphere of a small town and families with roots that grew deep over time. Choosing to tell the story by characters, she has given the reader a more intimate knowledge of each person. People who love stories about families and crime mystery will love this book.

What I did not like about the book?

This is based on my own personal reading preferences alone.

I think the first line of the book is not as powerful as the second sentence – One Saturday in March, fog crept through the river valley and froze overnight. This is the line that would make me want to read on.

Both Lucy and Lila’s chapters being written in the first person confused me a little. Yes, it connected me as a reader to each of them more intimately, but picking up the book after a night to continue reading I had to consciously focus on whom I was reading about, Lila or Lucy? It made them almost
merge into one person but perhaps this may have been intentional? A small header at the top of the page with the chapter’s name would immediately bring to memory whose story was being told.

The surname of each character is discarded at the beginning and confusing when a surname (Mrs Stoddard) was suddenly used later on which I had not remembered, although it did become clear later on. Somehow my memory remembered the Christian names but not the surnames!

I both loved and disliked the way this book challenged my perception of how I was absorbing it. Jumping back and forwards in time, combined with each chapter being a different person contributed to that.

My thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read this book in return for an honest review
( )
  greatbookescapes | Nov 20, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
With her riveting debut, "The Weight of Blood," Laura McHugh makes a strong bid at cementing a new tradition of regional crime fiction while keeping tourism low in the Ozarks........McHugh has crafted a sharp, haunting tale of blood in the Ozarks, as substantial as it is pleasurable to read.

 
McHugh cleverly tells the story in several first-person voices, mostly that of Lucy and her mother. The reader will know early on who the primary villain is, and may wonder at Lucy’s naiveté in not figuring it out sooner. But as in real life but oh-so-rarely in fiction, the villain here may not be 100 percent villainous, nor are the good guys necessarily 100 percent blame-free.

The plot will keep readers of The Weight of Blood reading far past their bedtimes, but it’s McHugh’s shadings and subtleties of character that’ll have them looking at their own families with new eyes and looking for her next book with eager ones.
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
For Brent, Harper, and Piper
First words
That Cheri Stoddard was found at all was the thing that set people on edge, even more so than the condition of her body.
Quotations
You grow up feeling the weight of blood, of family. There’s no forsaking kin.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812995201, Hardcover)

For fans of Gillian Flynn, Scott Smith, and Daniel Woodrell comes a gripping, suspenseful novel about two mysterious disappearances a generation apart.
 
The town of Henbane sits deep in the Ozark Mountains. Folks there still whisper about Lucy Dane’s mother, a bewitching stranger who appeared long enough to marry Carl Dane and then vanished when Lucy was just a child. Now on the brink of adulthood, Lucy experiences another loss when her friend Cheri disappears and is then found murdered, her body placed on display for all to see. Lucy’s family has deep roots in the Ozarks, part of a community that is fiercely protective of its own. Yet despite her close ties to the land, and despite her family’s influence, Lucy—darkly beautiful as her mother was—is always thought of by those around her as her mother’s daughter. When Cheri disappears, Lucy is haunted by the two lost girls—the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn’t save—and sets out with the help of a local boy, Daniel, to uncover the mystery behind Cheri’s death.
 
What Lucy discovers is a secret that pervades the secluded Missouri hills, and beyond that horrific revelation is a more personal one concerning what happened to her mother more than a decade earlier.
 
The Weight of Blood is an urgent look at the dark side of a bucolic landscape beyond the arm of the law, where a person can easily disappear without a trace. Laura McHugh proves herself a masterly storyteller who has created a harsh and tangled terrain as alive and unforgettable as the characters who inhabit it. Her mesmerizing debut is a compelling exploration of the meaning of family: the sacrifices we make, the secrets we keep, and the lengths to which we will go to protect the ones we love.
 
Praise for The Weight of Blood
 
“A fantastic novel, rich in character and atmosphere . . . This is one you won’t want to miss.”—Karin Slaughter, author of Unseen
 
“Laura McHugh’s vivid and enthralling The Weight of Blood centers on a mother and daughter in a seemingly benign yet deeply horrifying small town. It kept me on the edge of my seat from the first page to the last.”—Vanessa Diffenbaugh, author of The Language of Flowers
 
The Weight of Blood pulled me in and wouldn’t let go. What starts as Lucy’s coming-of-age story becomes a chilling tale about the price of secrets. As the menace deepens, so does the tension. Laura McHugh has written a terrific novel.”—Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award–winning author of The Shadow Tracer
 
“Once I picked up Laura McHugh’s The Weight of Blood, I couldn’t put it down. I kept turning pages long into the night, bewitched by the enchanting Ozark landscape and the haunting murder mystery at its heart. The Weight of Blood is the kind of novel that leaves the reader breathless and wanting more.”—Amy Greene, author of Bloodroot
 
“In this riveting debut, Laura McHugh weaves together the stories of two women, separated by a generation, who each reveal pieces of a story that gains momentum and power as its shape becomes clear. This novel will keep you up all night.”—Christina Baker Kline, author of Orphan Train
 
“An elegant time bomb of a novel, a coming-of age story that holds you captive from the first sentence and doesn’t let go of you after the last.”—Tracy Guzeman, author of The Gravity of Birds

(retrieved from Amazon Sat, 02 Nov 2013 02:15:15 -0400)

"The Dane family's roots tangle deep in the Ozark Mountain town of Henbane, but that doesn't keep sixteen-year-old Lucy Dane from being treated like an outsider. Folks still whisper about her mother, a bewitching young stranger who inspired local myths when she vanished years ago. When one of Lucy's few friends, slow-minded Cheri, is found murdered, Lucy feels haunted by the two lost girls--the mother she never knew and the friend she couldn't protect. Everything changes when Lucy stumbles across Cheri's necklace in an abandoned trailer and finds herself drawn into a search for answers. What Lucy discovers makes it impossible to ignore the suspicion cast on her own kin. More alarming, she suspects Cheri's death could be linked to her mother's disappearance, and the connection between the two puts Lucy at risk of losing everything. In a place where the bonds of blood weigh heavy, Lucy must decide where her allegiances lie"--… (more)

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