Hello everyone. Have you ever noticed how we all have things we say frequently? It's just our pattern of talking, or in this case writing. I'm sure I tell you the same things over and over ( I have chicken to bake and vacuuming to do). Maybe you'd prefer someone who writes brilliantly or who has a dainty, elegant style. Sorry, I have stuff to do, lots of stuff to do...insert sarcastic tone here. Anyway, one thing I always say is that I am a thriller girl. It's true, thrillers are my favorite books to shop for and my favorite to read. Surprisingly, they are rarely my very favorite book by the end of the year. There are only so many places you can go with the plot while maintaining that frantic tension that I adore. Ahhh, but in general fiction, writers have the world. Those, just good darn story, books are what always edges out my beloved thrillers for favorite. While I don't know what the rest of my reading year will bring (in 2020 it's best not to tempt fate), I have a contender for number one!
I just read Picket Fences by Emma L. R. Hogg. Ms. Hogg is a Canadian author and they are lucky to have her! I LOVED this book. I was in the middle of reading a major thriller and foolishly read the first few pages of Picket Fences, two days later I'm finished. I don't know how to describe it to you, it's one of those stories that is about nothing and everything. It is the story of a young woman, Sloane, and her friend from high school, Stephie. They made plans for their lives but, as it does for most of us, life changes.
The story is straightforward, following Sloane as she lives her life, going to work, dealing with parents, husband, Stephie and desperately trying to make her dreams come true. It's a slice of life. The reader also sees parts of the past, learning more about the early lives of Sloane and Stephie, helping us understand why they are the way they are today. It all sounds so simple doesn't it? On the surface it is, but there are undercurrents galore to be explored and lessons for the reader to learn. This is all accomplished brilliantly thanks to the author's well defined characters. When people are rude and hateful, she makes us dislike them but still have compassion for them and wonder what happened in their past. When Sloane struggles, I wanted to shake her and tell her to snap out of it, but I also recognized many of her traits in myself. Sloane's parents were adorable, yet her mom often annoying. As for Jason, Sloane's husband, the reader is left wondering if he can't be bothered to accomplish his dream of being a game designer or whether he postpones his wishes because his greater wish is for an income that will bring them a happy life now. We don't know if he's unkind, or the nicest, most patient husband ever. Stephie's "friend" Randy, appears to be a loser but then we're reminded not to judge people, as we see how he is smart and sensitive. I know all these character names and traits mean absolutely nothing to you now, I only include them to show you that this book that has no boat crashes, museum robberies, or mysterious murders, yet it is absolutely amazing.
I cannot do this book justice with a description. It is about nothing and everything. It's complicated yet simple, happy yet sad. I found myself laughing out loud and then teary eyed. The storytelling is masterful and I will not forget Picket Fences for a very long time.
This book is being published in Canada so I want to give you some help finding it if you live in the United States. First, you can order it directly from the distributor at https://www.fitzhenry.ca/Detail/1777010144 . Or you can get it at good old trusty Amazon and have it delivered right to your kindle (gotta love that instant gratification)...actually if you are in the US just give the name to any bookstore and they can get it for you. Need a reminder, it is Picket Fences by Emma L.R. Hogg, read it and it's a name you'll long remember.