Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Quickening

by Michelle Hoover
The Other Press (Random House), 2010.

*This book was received through Librarything Early Reviewers. As per the rules, I receive a free book in exchange for a review, and whether it's positive or negative has no affect on my receiving books in the future.*

Enidina Current and Mary Morrow are farmer's wives and neighbors. They are almost thrown together by circumstances, if not friends in the strictest sense of the word. The arc of the story focuses more on their internal struggles than on external events, as the women connect through family, poverty, and the hard work of the farms.

Enidina and Mary trade narration every chapter, sometimes telling the same stories from a different viewpoint, beginning during World War 1 and running through the decades. Sometimes their reminiscences provide a picture of their pasts and the narrative present (about 1950), but primarily the story takes place between the World Wars. I was not sure how much to trust either woman's point of view. At times, Enidina seemed confused about exactly what happened, and I had a hard time fully trusting Mary's description of events as well. Because time moves quickly, I sometimes had a hard time remembering characters' ages. Enidina and Mary are the most fleshed out, which makes sense since they are narrating. I found myself sympathizing more with Mary, but liking Enidina more. Recommended for readers who enjoy a midwestern setting and character-driven stories.

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