Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Mourning Hours - Review

Title: The Mourning Hours
Author: Paula Treick DeBoard
Source: NetGalley

A family's loyalty is put to the ultimate test in this haunting and unforgettable debut. 

Kirsten Hammarstrom hasn't been home to her tiny corner of rural Wisconsin in years-not since the mysterious disappearance of a local teenage girl rocked the town and shattered her family. Kirsten was just nine years old when Stacy Lemke went missing, and the last person to see her alive was her boyfriend, Johnny-the high school wrestling star and Kirsten's older brother. No one knows what to believe-not even those closest to Johnny-but the event unhinges the quiet farming community and pins Kirsten's family beneath the crushing weight of suspicion. 

Now, years later, a new tragedy forces Kirsten and her siblings to return home, where they must confront the devastating event that shifted the trajectory of their lives. Tautly written and beautifully evocative, The Mourning Hours is a gripping portrayal of a family straining against extraordinary pressure, and a powerful tale of loyalty, betrayal and forgiveness.

My thoughts:

I could not put this book down.  I started reading it at 11:00 pm last night, read until 1:00 am, when I forced myself to stop reading and go bed, since I had to work in the morning. When I got up, I picked it right back up and kept reading as I brushed my teeth, did my hair, and got ready for the day. When I left for work, I popped my iPad into my bag, so I could read at work. I actually reviewed my morning in my mind on the way there, trying to figure out if I would have time. I read it here and there, and then finished on my lunch break.  The story was riveting, the language and writing expressive.

This book was gripping, suspenseful, a real page turner.  I don't want to give much away - I will say that I when I started I just had to read until I found out just what happened, what was the big thing the characters were alluding to, that the reader felt coming from the very beginning.  Situations build with tension, you can feel it like a rope being pulled taut that you know is going to snap sometime soon.

And this is mostly from the point of view of a 4th grader, at least 75% of the book is through the eyes of Kirsten as a child. You would think things would get lost, that you wouldn't get the full picture, but DeBoard writes the story so that you get just enough, the right enough, that you understand the situation even though Kirsten may not.

This book reminded me a bit of Dark Places by Gillian Flynn, and of We Were the Mulvaneys by Joyce Carol Oates. Especially the Mulvaneys, although the ending in The Mourning Hours doesn't leave you feeling like you were hit by a truck, unlike all Oates books. It is a story of how loyalty can be tested, even with your family that you love like your ownself - you may think that you would stand by a brother or a sister, a mother or a father, no matter what, when the chips are down and you are all at the lowest point you can go, but you never really know what will happen if you were in that situation.

I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves a good suspense thriller book. But be prepared - once you start reading it you can't stop, so clear your calendar first!


  1. Wow, you make this sound really good! I'm adding it to my TBR now :-)

    1. I really really enjoyed it! The only thing lacking was the ending a little.

  2. A book that keeps you up late reading is great isn't it? (Not the lack of sleep part, lol) It's awesome when a book grabs you and won't let go! The cover on this one is gorgeous too. I'll be looking for this one, thanks Erin! (Takes place in Wisconsin, BONUS!)


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