Review of The Shore by Sara Taylor

9780553417739“Welcome to The Shore: a collection of small islands sticking out from the coast of Virginia into the Atlantic Ocean. Where clumps of evergreens meet wild ponies, oyster-shell roads, tumble-down houses, unwanted pregnancies, murder, storm-making and dark magic in the marshes. . .

Situated off the coast of Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay, the group of islands known as the Shore has been home to generations of fierce and resilient women. Sanctuary to some but nightmare to others, it’s a place they’ve inhabited, fled, and returned to for hundreds of years. From a half-Shawnee Indian’s bold choice to flee an abusive home only to find herself with a man who will one day try to kill her to a brave young girl’s determination to protect her younger sister as methamphetamine ravages their family, to a lesson in summoning storm clouds to help end a drought, these women struggle against domestic violence, savage wilderness, and the corrosive effects of poverty and addiction to secure a sense of well-being for themselves and for those they love.

Together their stories form a deeply affecting legacy of two barrier island families, illuminating 150 years of their many freedoms and constraints, heartbreaks, and pleasures. Conjuring a wisdom and beauty all its own, The Shore is a richly unique, stunning novel that will resonate with readers long after turning its final pages, establishing Sara Taylor as a promising new voice in fiction.”

Be warned these stories are heavy as an anchor and not to be read for a sweet, blissful escape. You are headed into the murky depths of reality. One finds brutal realities here – revenge murders, meth and physical abuse. It’s dark and brutal, there’s black magic, healing, and a recurring theme of unplanned, unwanted pregnancies. Pretty deep stuff, but if you can go on after reading the first chapter, it’ll be worth it.

“The Shore is flat as a fried egg; on a clear day from one upstairs porch it feels like you can see into tomorrow, and usually you can just about see the smart smear that is Chincoteague Island off to the northeast. We are one of three islands, off the coast of Virginia and just south of Maryland, trailing out into the Atlantic Ocean like someone’s dripped paint.”

This book seemed really interesting to me. The narrative in these stories, total of thirteen, is very descriptive. We get different points of view, like third person and first person, throughout the entire book, spanning over 250 years, was very clever and I really liked it. A person mentioned in one story in another story which takes places years or a century before was creative and intricately connected.

The common thing in all of the stories is that they all focus on families. The marshland these families have populated for years is magical. The beginning contained a family tree to help the reader understand how the families are connected. The first story is about Chloe and Renee. It’s a heart wrenching tale of abuse, poverty, and childhood. Chloe narrates this story that that left me wanting more. Each story, each family had contributed to a gut-retching existence. Taylor’s writing is very detailed. The characters and their stories she came up with were so original and unique. The connections throughout the stories added a layer of depth and interaction that many books don’t even scratch the service. I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars. I would only recommend this book to those I think can handle it.

FTC disclaimer: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this honest review.9780553417739


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