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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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I received an ARC from Goodreads Giveaways in exchange for my review.

It started out as a 4-star book, so maybe this is more of a 3.5 star book. I felt like it was building up to something bigger than it turned out to be, but I think ultimately the subject matter started to bother me to where I was no longer connected to the book. Call it personal preference of subject matter. I just don't enjoy books (or any media for that matter) about exploitation, even if the bad guys get it in the end. ( )
  dulcinea14 | Sep 18, 2014 |
This is a gritty first novel by Laura McHugh. The setting of the story is the small town of Hensbane in the Ozark Mountains. It’s a clannish town and everybody knows everyone else’s business.

It starts with sixteen year old Lucy Bane, a beautiful young woman who is the spitting image of her mother. This bothers the locals a great deal because her mother, Lila, an outsider to the close knit community, disappeared just months after Lucy’s birth.

Backwards and superstitious, they believed Lila to a witch and it was rumored she once turned a man into a snake. Don’t let this descriptor turn you off to the book because it’s a wonderful mystery and plays out well.

The chapters are titled after the characters names (same as Maeve Binchy or George Martin patterned their books). The first few chapters are titled Lucy and set the ground work for Lucy’s friendship with a girl named Cheri. Cheri was slow, perhaps not retarded but very dim-witted; it seemed her only friend was Lucy. She disappeared one day and this had Lucy thinking about the mother she never knew.

Where did these women go? What became of them? Lila never turned up during those 16 years but Cheri was later found butchered, placed in a tree near Lucy’s Uncle Crete’s restaurant.

Now the chapters go back and forth between Lucy and Lila. You learn Lila Petrovich arrived in Hensbane to work at Crete Bane’s farm and restaurant. She had no family, was orphaned at a young age and nowhere to go once she turned 16. Crete offers a job with room and board and she takes this a chance to start fresh. She is a beautiful young woman with striking features. She stands out from the community in looks and poise. Women are concerned she’ll take their husbands and she finds no friendship with the exception of her waitress co-worker at the dinner. Crete Bane has sinister ulterior motives but I won’t give a spoiler.

Once Lucy starts into Cheri’s life and digging for clues about her friend’s murder, she also turns up some information about her mother. She backs herself into a dangerous situation and you will be pleased that the ending isn’t predictable. Nice first novel, good mystery and I felt that small town clannishness as I read the story.

Simple home cooked fare was offered in this book. While I won’t attempt the squirrel dumplings Lila made for her neighbor I will offer a grilled steak, field peas and sweet potato for supper.

http://novelmeals.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/the-weight-of-blood-by-laura-mchugh/ ( )
  SquirrelHead | Aug 26, 2014 |
A story that explores blood ties through the events that effect a mother who disappeared and a daughter left behind. ( )
  rglossne | Aug 20, 2014 |
A mystery which is also an insight into corruption that can occur in a small rural isolated town and of the superstitions and adversity that newcomers to such an area can encounter. The characters are well developed, interesting as is the plot which is well paced. Set in the Ozark Mountains of Missouri there are two stories - one of Lila an orphaned girl who comes to work when she ages out of foster care; and of her daughter Lucy who decides to question the events surrounding her friend's murder. ( )
  CarterPJ | Aug 17, 2014 |
"This might be overwhelmingly depressing in other hands (especially with a name like Weight of Blood) but there was something optimistic about McHugh’s ending that solidified my enjoyment of the book."
read more: http://likeiamfeasting.blogspot.gr/2014/07/the-weight-of-blood-laura-mchugh.html ( )
  mongoosenamedt | Aug 17, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 62 (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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For Brent, Harper, and Piper
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That Cheri Stoddard was found at all was the thing that set people on edge, even more so than the condition of her body.
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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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