This post is written by contributor Stephanie Ferber. We received a copy of the book for review. No compensation was received. Just so you know!
The Weight of Blood, by Laura McHugh was a dark, mysterious debut novel that left me anticipating more work from this author!
From Amazon: 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.
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.
“[An] expertly crafted thriller.”—Entertainment Weekly, “The Must List”
“Haunting . . . [a] riveting debut.”—Los Angeles Times
The Weight of Blood is broken into several narratives, but is easily readable once you get into the rhythm of who was who as it shifts between the past and present and also between several main characters. It’s told mainly from the point of view of mother and daughter, with other key characters who have been significant in both of their lives along the way.
I loved how the novel was so gripping in that the text left nothing out and was often difficult to read because of the detail but also so tender in other parts. As much as I enjoyed the book, when I think back on it, so much of the story was unrealistic and it’s hard to explain why without giving away too much of the plot. The story itself is wrapped around an issue that is a hot button today but clearly has been plaguing society for generations, hidden and secretive then as now (human trafficking and rape). The characters’ and their family’s response to both of these issues as well as the town’s seeming acceptance and turning a blind eye seemed unbelievable. I suppose as with most books and movies, this book has to be viewed purely as entertainment so with that in mind, I found it to be quite a page turner. I wasn’t disappointed with the outcome and look forward to seeing more novels from Laura McHugh!