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A Place We Knew Well: A Novel by Susan Carol…

A Place We Knew Well: A Novel

by Susan Carol McCarthy

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I have never really thought about how life must have been those 13 days 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I have read about it, seen documentaries about it and seen movies about the days. But I have never really thought about how it must have been like in America during those days, with little knowledge about what was going on in the White House and in Soviet and still having to go on with your life as usual.

For the Avery family is it time for the Homecoming and the daughter in the family has a date with a boy from Cuba whose family is still there. They try to get on with their lives, the mother in the family is about to break down from stress and inner tumult and the father is doing everything he can to keep his family together. And, then a relative comes to their town. Someone they all thought had died and with that arrival a long-buried secret revels.

I think what makes this story so compelling to read is that the story about the Avery family would be an OK read in any context, it's a good story, but it gets even better with the Cuban Missile Crisis in the background because as they struggle with everyday problems during the 60s they also have to face that this could be the start of WW3 and any moment a missile could end their lives. I mean this could really be the last ever Homecoming.

I liked this book because it got me to picture an American family during a difficult historical time. It got me to feel with them and it gave me a greater understanding of the how lives must have been back then. It gave me so much reading this book. The Cold War may be over, but war never ends...

Thanks to Bantam Dell and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review! ( )
  MaraBlaise | Apr 14, 2017 |
The author does a great job of showing how scary it was for the American citizens living in Florida during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I really enjoyed this book. We have easier access to the media and communications so whenever I read a book set back in the 1960's, I have to remind myself they didn't have cell phones and the internet so it was harder to get up-to-date information. Very well written. ( )
  MHanover10 | Jul 10, 2016 |
This is the first novel I've ever read that was set during the Cuban Missile Crisis -- and reading novels set during important historical events is one of my favorite ways of learning about them. The story centers around a family living in Florida during those events, so the massive buildup of U.S. military force is literally happening around them as they try at the same time to deal with more mundane issues -- nominations for Homecoming court, for example. The family drama is well-drawn, although I didn't like the intro chapter, which sets up the rest of the book as a kind of flashback. So if you start this, stick with it for a few chapters.

There's also a B-story about mental illness here that I think is well done. I was reminded how scary that kind of thing could be, back when people mostly saw a regular GP for mental health issues, and prescriptions for uppers and downers flowed probably too freely.

In short, all the characters really came to life in this novel, and it was set against an interesting historical backdrop, so I really enjoyed it AND felt like I got a bit of a history lesson at the same time.

Note: I received a complimentary advance copy of this ebook from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. ( )
  BraveNewBks | Mar 10, 2016 |
Chose this from a library display - would have otherwise missed this gem. ( )
  SkiKatt68 | Feb 26, 2016 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Very interesting book on a subject I'm not very familiar with. The story flowed well and the characters well defined. The emotional impact of the book was a little scary as I kept thinking this could happen again maybe not the same way but something similar. Good stuff. Would pass this along as one to read.
  justablondemoment | Nov 29, 2015 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 080417654X, Hardcover)

“Susan Carol McCarthy blends fact, memory, imagination and truth with admirable grace,” said The Washington Post of the author’s critically acclaimed debut novel, Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands. Now McCarthy returns with another enthralling story of a family—their longings, their fears, and their secrets—swept up in the chaos at the height of the Cold War.
Late October, 1962. Wes Avery, a one-time Air Force tail-gunner, is living his version of the American Dream as loving husband to Sarah, doting father to seventeen-year-old Charlotte, and owner of a successful Texaco station along central Florida’s busiest highway. But after President Kennedy announces that the Soviets have nuclear missiles in Cuba, Army convoys clog the highways and the sky fills with fighter planes. Within days, Wes’s carefully constructed life begins to unravel.
Sarah, nervous and watchful, spends more and more time in the family’s bomb shelter, slipping away into childhood memories and the dreams she once held for the future. Charlotte is wary but caught up in the excitement of high school—her nomination to homecoming court, the upcoming dance, and the thrill of first love. Wes, remembering his wartime experience, tries to keep his family’s days as normal as possible, hoping to restore a sense of calm. But as the panic over the Missile Crisis rises, a long-buried secret threatens to push the Averys over the edge.
With heartbreaking clarity and compassion, Susan Carol McCarthy captures the shock and innocence, anxiety and fear, in those thirteen historic days, and brings vividly to life one ordinary family trying to hold center while the world around them falls apart.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 06 Jul 2015 19:25:48 -0400)

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