Disclaimer: The reviewer now writes fiction and has a terrific blog for writers on which he reviews books, dissects the writing life and more. But in my former life as a journalist, Gary was my editor. He notes that at the end of the review, so read it for yourself and see what you think. If you’d like the short version, here are the Cliff Notes:
In this case, Satchell’s novel focuses on the lives of those coming and going at a grand Victorian beach house in New Jersey. Built in the 1910s, the house serves as the unique setting and narrator (yes, narrator!) of more than a dozen vignettes within its walls, taking readers on an emotional journey through time. The stories relive milestones in the lives of the DiStefano family who owns the house, friends, and visitors who rent the house for weekend getaways or vacations.
The stories are often warm and uplifting, and sometimes sad. Satchell excels at drawing readers into the lives of her characters and making you care about them. The characters, and their experiences, are all easily relatable to our own stories, our own personal triumphs, challenges, and tragedies.
And in case you can’t suspend your disbelief that a house can act as a narrator, stick with it. All will be made clear in the end.
Satchell has always had a knack for telling stories in a compassionate way and for letting the passions of her characters define them, and that skill is evident here. Prior to crafting fictional stories as a novelist, she chronicled real-life stories as a reporter for The Tennessean in Nashville and other area newspapers.