When a book leaves you at a loss of words and emotionally wrought, you know you have a winner in your hands. Natalie Symons Lies In Bone deserves all the 5 stars and more for its stark and gripping portrayal of a young girl and her struggles to live her life.
Frances or Frank as she loves to be called is just 16 when her father decides to shift location to the small town of Slippery Elm in Pennsylvania to take care of their ailing grandmother Ruth. Frank has the additional responsibility of taking care of her 6 year old sister Megan or Boots. The children’s mother had left them when she was only 10 and has never returned. With a dreamer of a father who lacks parental authority, it is left to young Frank to be the mother that the little girl deserves. Growing up before her age, Frank is cynical and has no rose glasses to view the world. Adding to the turmoil is the embittered grandmother who has never forgiven Frank’s father, Chuck for the tragedy that had befallen their family.
Lies in Bone is agonizingly beautiful with the setting of the story sketching a declining town where the residents are themselves angry and unwilling to forget the events that have remained as a cloud over Chuck’s head. Frank has to navigate thru her grandmother’s lack of affection and coldness of the people around her when there’s another child’s murder that shatters her world and destroys any semblance of hope that she had carried. As events escalate and rock bottom is hit, the readers are made to endure every bit of Frank’s painful journey. Such is the power of the author’s writing that the images are vivid and scars the soul.
In this gripping and suspenseful coming of age story, Natalie Symons provides loving moments thru Ray who becomes the ray of sunshine in Frank’s life, and Henry who helps Frank to fight for herself and her sister. The author holds the reader glued to the pages springing more than one surprising twist in the story at the end. But my review would be inadequate without the mention of the sweet Bernice whose unflagging optimism amidst the horrors of her life made me want to keep her close and never let go.
Lies in Bone is a must-read for its moving and touching story of grief and secrets but in its heart, it is also a hopeful look into the strength and resilience to fight against all adversities and as they say about being forged in fire, emerge that much stronger.
Trigger warning for readers who have issues with self-abuse, molestation, mental illness, and parental neglect.
Many thanks to the publishers and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
WINNER: 2021 BEST BOOK AWARDS in Fiction: Cross-Genre
1ST PLACE: 2021 ROYAL DRAGONFLY AWARD for Fiction Novel
FINALIST: 2021 BEST BOOK AWARDS in Fiction: Literary
BEST PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER OF 2021: Linda McCutcheon Reviews
TOP 10 BOOKS OF 2021: Reading Untamed
BEST MYSTERY/THRILLERS OF 2021: MicheleReader.com
BEST DEBUT NOVELS OF 2021: MicheleReader.com
BEST BOOKS OF 2021: Featzreviews.com
Told by a tart-tongued young woman with a love of Bruce Springsteen, Lies in Bone is at once a mystery and coming-of-age tale fueled by dark secrets involving love, murder, and the truths worth lying for.
On Halloween 1963, eleven-year-old Chuck Coolidge and his brother Danny are lost in a toxic smog covering the steel town of Slippery Elm, Pennsylvania. When the smog lifts, half the town is sick and twenty people are dead. And Danny is missing.
Now, over twenty years later, Chuck’s teenage daughter Frank plots escape from this “busted and disgusted” town. When a murdered child is found in the river, investigators link the crime to the disappearance of Danny in ’63, and Frank’s life is turned upside down. In the face of her worst fears, she must uncover her family’s dark past if she wants to keep her sister Boots from the hands of The State. Led to discover the unimaginable truth about Danny’s disappearance, Lies in Bone culminates in a shocking eleventh-hour reveal and an emotionally charged finale.
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