White Picket Fences: A Novel by Susan Meissner (WaterBrook, October 6, 2009), 368 pages
From the outside, the Janvier family looks white-picket-fence, 2-kids-and-a-dog perfect. But, like most families, things are not always as they appear. The story opens as Amanda and Jason are attending the funeral for their niece’s grandmother. Amanda’s brother Bart, Tally’s father, is in Europe and unreachable, so Amanda and Jason are taking the teenage Tally home with them, having been granted temporary custody by the county.
I’ve heard really great things about Meissner’s The Shape of Mercy, so I was eager to read this one when I had the chance. White Picket Fences offers good writing and an emotional journey. The book was not what I expected it to be when I picked it up.
I loved the Holocaust threads of the story — how this was both woven into and reflective of the storyline set in present day was brilliant.
At times I wanted to yell at the characters, but in this I wasn’t alone — other characters took up my cry — so that offered some respite.
White Picket Fences is a strong book, but I feel like I’ve read so many books about secrets recently that I wasn’t really prepared for another. Still, I definitely want to read more of Meissner’s work.
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I received this book from the publisher.