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The Golden Hour by T. Greenwood

The Golden Hour

by T. Greenwood

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The Golden Hour
T. Greenwood

A mesmerizing story about an artist who must paint not only the light but also the shadows, and find the truth in the contrast between the light and the dark.


It was a beautiful grasshopper green spring afternoon with a cerulean blue sky when 13-year-old Wyn Davies took a shortcut through the birch woods in her New Hampshire hometown. The truth about what really happened in those woods would become a secret she promised not to tell. Now, twenty years later, she lives in Brooklyn, New York on the opposite side of the duplex from her husband, with her adorable 4-year-old daughter, Avery, shuttling between the two of them. Wyn makes her living painting commissioned canvases of birch trees to match her clients furnishings. She is at home painting when she gets a google alert that Robbie Rousseau, who has spent the past two decades in prison for his confessed crime against her, may be released based on new DNA evidence, unless she will agree to testify against him.

To escape the media frenzy, clear her head and focus on her painting, Wyn agrees to help her best friend, Pilar, fix up her newly purchased ramshackle house on a remote island in Maine. The house has been empty for years and in the basement Wyn discovers a box of film canisters labeled “Epitaphs and Prophecies.” Like time capsules the photographs help her piece together the life of the house’s former owner an artistic young mother much like Wyn. But there is a mystery behind the film images and unraveling it will force Wyn to finally confront what really happened to her in those woods twenty years ago.

“I am haunted by the birches, by what lives beyond the edges of the canvas, by those things for which there are no colors to paint.

The golden hour is that magical time in the evening just before sunset, when the the reflection of the sun bathes the earth in a beautiful honeyed hue. It was the golden hour when Wyn hears the news about Robbie, and it was in this same hour that she knew that her carefully held promise about what happened in the woods would be broken. As an avid sunset photographer, I love the book title and how the golden hour was woven throughout the book. Right from the start this book grabbed me and would not let go. It’s tender, it’s riveting and it’s gut-wrenching.

Wyn’s character comes to life on the pages, her story is timely and compelling. She evocatively propels the narrative with her struggles as a wife, a mother, an artist and a victim of a violent crime. All the characters are well drawn, best friend Pilar, and husband Gus in particular. My absolutely favorite, however, was daughter Avery, who brings lightness and joy to the story. I listened to the Audible version of the book and narrator Thérèse Plummer did a great job, particularly with Avery’s voice. Fell in love with that little girl.

Author T. GREENWOOD’s writing is beautiful. The story is smartly structured and expertly layered. She skillfully transports us to Pilar’s house on a bitterly cold island off the coast of Maine, only accessible by ferry. I felt as if I was there. I could hear the old floors creak, see the crumbling stairs, and feel the whoosh of the pilot light of the furnace. One of my favorites layers of the story is Wyn’s discovery, investigation and decision regarding the truth about the film canisters found in the basement. Greenwood has truly captured a story that mesmerizing and immensely satisfying.
Publisher Kensington/Random House Audio
Published February 28, 2017
Narrator Thérèse Plummer
Review www.bluestockingreviews.com

“This is the thing about a lie: over time, it not only obscures the truth but consumes it. Those who pursue veracity(those dogooders, those seekers) see truth not as an abstract thing but something concrete. Strong, vivid, with an unassailable right to prevail. But those who fight for it, who fight in the name of it, do not understand that truth is anemic, weak. Especially in the hands of an accomplished liar. Especially over years. A lie, in collusion with time, can overpower the truth. A good lie has the power to subsume reality. A good lie can become the truth.” ( )
  LisaSHarvey | Jul 20, 2018 |
I love just about every novel by Ms. Greenwood. I have a few that I haven't read yet, but I'm working on it. The way she writes is so beautiful, I get sucked in to each book, just reading the first few pages. While I certainly love what some people call "chick lit", this is not a term I would use to describe any of her novels. They nearly all are beautiful, well crafted stories, sometimes with pain, but always honest and believable.
My only critical comment on this book would be that it was too short. I, like others, figured out what had happened to her in her youth, but I really wanted to know that things fell into place for her, once she was honest with herself. Maybe we will see that play out in a future novel. ( )
  suequeblue | Jan 22, 2018 |
Wyn's life was drastically altered at the young age of thirteen, when she decided to walk through the woods when going home from school. Twenty years later, Wyn lives with her daughter in a duplex shared with her estranged husband. When the man responsible for a horrible crime against her suddenly has a chance of a retrial and release based on new DNA evidence, Wyn's new life starts to crumble. Her best friend and fellow artist buys a remote house in Maine, and it's the perfect opportunity for temporary escape for Wyn and her daughter when they're asked to stay. As Wyn tries to focus on her art and ignore threatening messages from her past, she discovers hidden film in the house's basement. Unsettling but beautiful, the photos reveal a mystery kept hidden for years. Part mystery, part journey of self discovery, this novel is a deeply moving story about life after tragedy. If you haven't read any novels by this author, I'd highly suggest this one, as well as Where I Lost Her.

Sarah M. / Marathon County Public Library
Find this book in our library catalog.

( )
  mcpl.wausau | Sep 25, 2017 |
Thank you NetGalley and Kensington Books for an advance copy.

I was drawn into the story from the first few pages, actually from the "Palette". We enter Wyn Davies life as it is falling apart. We are introduced to the major and minor players in the story in such a way that we know who to embrace immediately, and who to fear and hate. The story, while slow in places, moves forward with a rhythm that matches the lush and beautiful language. The descriptions brought me close to each place and emotion.

After I finished the book I kept thinking about how and why I missed the parallels of the subtext. Why did it take me so long to pick up the threads and weave them together? Definitely my failing but I still wonder about some of the chapter and perhaps that is the beauty of the story. ( )
  kimkimkim | Aug 21, 2017 |
The Golden Hour is a new novel by T. Greenwood. Wyn Davies is a struggling artist is in her early thirties and lives in Queens, New York. Wyn lives in one half of a duplex while her husband, Gus lives on the other side. The pair split recently over a silly disagreement. Their daughter, Avery lives with Wyn during the week and Gus on the weekends. Wyn is an artist who has been busy making commissioned birch tree paintings that go with her client’s rooms. Gus feels that Wyn has sold out (at least she is earning money). Wyn finds out that Robby Rousseau might get a new trial. The Innocence Project has gotten involved in Robby’s case and they are testing the DNA from the case. The DNA was never tested because they had a confession. Wyn has never told anyone the truth about what happened that day twenty years ago in Haven, New Hampshire. When she receives a threatening phone call, it spurs Wyn to flee. She takes her friend, Pilar up on her offer to spend the winter in her home on Bluffs Island in Maine. Avery and Wyn head up to Bluffs Island. It can only be reached by ferry and there is no Wi-Fi service. It sounds perfect to Wyn. In the basement, Wyn discovers a box labeled “Epitaphs and Prophecies”. The box is full of undeveloped film rolls. The rolls are labeled with dates starting with 07/12/76. Wyn is intrigued and sends off two rolls to get developed (a friend develops the rest later). The film belonged to the former owner who disappeared thirty-five years ago. The pictures are unusual and Wyn gets a glimpse of her life. Wyn wants to find out more about this woman and starts seeking answers. Will the answers Wyn seeks help her with her own life? What happened to Wyn twenty years ago?

The Golden Hour is an odd novel. It sounded like a good mystery/suspense novel, but the execution was severely lacking. Wyn is a hard character to like. I know she suffered a horrible trauma, and I believe she could benefit from therapy. Her character reminds me of a person who might have a mental health problem. Wyn smokes pot (more than once when children are nearby), drinks, has trouble communicating (especially with her husband), pushes everyone away, prefers to flee than deal with life, jealous of her best friend’s success and lacks some common sense. Wyn goes to a house that has been deserted for thirty-five years with her four-year-old daughter (would you take a child to this house). I would make sure to arrive in daylight so I can what needs to be done. I am sure that the house would be dilapidated and filthy. Wyn has no idea how to turn light a pilot light for the heat and imagines there is a master switch (not on a system that old). She does not bring in the clothes from the car before falling asleep (guess what they need in the middle of the night). Wyn also fails to bring needed cleaning supplies (despite being told about the lack of shops and supplies in the “town”). Wyn seems more concerned about her needs than those of her daughter. In a way, I wish the author had not included a child in the story. I found some inconsistencies regarding the legal case. A thirteen-year-old boy confessed to the crime and then goes to trial. He gets a lengthy sentence and is still in jail twenty years later. Normally, if the perpetrator confesses, there is no trial. It would go to sentencing. Also, why would a juvenile still be in jail after the age of 18 (or at the latest 21). I am curious how he was convicted if Wyn did not testify and the DNA evidence was never tested. The incident that happened to Wyn is slowly revealed over the course of the novel. Most readers will be able to figure it out long before all the information is revealed. I give The Golden Hour 2 out of 5 stars (I did not enjoy it). I found the pace to be slow (good if you wish to go to sleep) and the pictures described are unusual (downright strange and inappropriate). I thought the novel to be dark and the ending disappointing. What happened regarding the prior owner is very upsetting and disturbing. I was just not drawn into this book. I kept hoping it would get better, but it did not. The Golden Hour was not the right novel for me. ( )
  Kris_Anderson | Mar 8, 2017 |
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“Richly told and hauntingly beautiful, The Golden Hour was impossible to put down.” --Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times & USA Today bestselling author

On a spring afternoon long ago, thirteen-year-old Wyn Davies took a shortcut through the woods in her New Hampshire hometown and became a cautionary tale. Now, twenty years later, she lives in New York, on the opposite side of a duplex from her ex, with their four-year-old daughter shuttling between them. Wyn makes her living painting commissioned canvases of birch trees to match her clients’ furnishings. But the nagging sense that she has sold her artistic soul is soon eclipsed by a greater fear. Robby Rousseau, who has spent the past two decades in prison for a terrible crime against her, may be released based on new DNA evidence—unless Wyn breaks her silence about that afternoon.
To clear her head, refocus her painting, and escape an even more present threat, Wyn agrees to be temporary caretaker for a friend’s new property on a remote Maine island. The house has been empty for years, and in the basement Wyn discovers a box of film canisters labeled “Epitaphs and Prophecies.” Like time capsules, the photographs help her piece together the life of the house’s former owner, an artistic young mother, much like Wyn. But there is a mystery behind the images too, and unraveling it will force Wyn to finally confront what happened in those woods—and perhaps escape them at last. 
A compelling and evocative novel with an unsettling question at its heart, T. Greenwood’s The Golden Hour explores the power of art to connect, to heal, and to reveal our most painful and necessary truths.

“Spellbinding. A touching story of one woman’s loss and heartache, coupled with the electrifying search for a young girl. I loved everything about Where I Lost Her." --Mary Kubica, bestselling author of The Good Girl

“Searing, heartbreaking, and suspenseful.” --Publishers Weekly


“A compelling read.” --Tawni O’Dell, New York Times bestselling author of Back Roads

“T. Greenwood delves into the pain of grief, and brings the reader to a place of hope and, yes, even joy.” --Ann Hood, author of The Knitting Circle and An Italian Wife


“A complex and compelling portrait of the painful intricacies of love and loyalty. Book clubs will find much to discuss in T. Greenwood’s insightful story of two women caught between their hearts and their families.” --Eleanor Brown, New York Times bestselling author of The Weird Sisters

“By turns beautiful and tragic, haunting and healing, I was captivated from the very first line.” --Jillian Cantor, author of Margot


“A poetic, compelling story that glows in its subtle, yet searing examination of how we attempt to fill the potentially devastating fissures in our lives.” --Amy Hatvany, author of Heart Like Mine

“Exceptionally well-observed. Readers who enjoy insightful and sensitive family drama will appreciate discovering Greenwood.” --Library Journal

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 19 Sep 2016 13:52:10 -0400)

Teenaged Wyn Davies took a shortcut through the woods in her New Hampshire hometown and became a cautionary tale. Twenty years later, divorced, she lives in New York making her living painting commissioned canvases of birch trees to match her clients' furnishings. Then she hears that Robby Rousseau, who has spent the past two decades in prison for a terrible crime against her, may be released based on new DNA evidence. Wyn agrees to be temporary caretaker for a friend's property on a remote Maine island, where she discovers a box of film canisters and photographs that will force Wyn to finally confront what happened in those woods.… (more)

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