Friday, February 19, 2016

Eleanor Will Haunt Your Thoughts (In a Good Way!)

Eleanor, by Jason Gurley, is an emotionally charged and gripping tale of family trauma, dysfunction, and reclamation. I was hooked from the get-go! (For a plot synopsis, please see the “From the Publisher” section below.)

Gurley’s characters are well-developed and immediately drew me into the storyline. The tragic circumstances that hang like an invisible pall over each of them added to the urgency of identifying with each character from the main protagonist, young Eleanor, to Aunt Gerry and Jack, Eleanor’s best friend and love interest.

While the main tragedies that befall the Witt family are events we witness on the news any given day, I really enjoyed the fact that Gurley adds a “paranormal” twist to the disappearances Eleanor experiences. This twist was the added traction that kept me up past bedtime reading “just one more section” after another!

I think book clubs would find much to discuss in this book. The perils of motherhood. Issues of mental illness and addiction. How tragedy and trauma unfold in lives and through generations. What happens after death. What is the purpose and nature of our hopes and dreams (both waking and the dream world’s we weave in our unconscious minds/sleep).

Eleanor is a book that will appeals to a variety of readers. I am happy to tell my friends and family about this great read!

Thanks to Blogging For Books for the ARC I received in exchange for this honest review of the book.

From the Publisher . . .

Eleanor and Esmerelda are identical twins with a secret language all their own, inseparable until a terrible accident claims Esme’s life. Eleanor’s family is left in tatters: her mother retreats inward, seeking comfort in bottles; her father reluctantly abandons ship. Eleanor is forced to grow up more quickly than a child should, and becomes the target of her mother’s growing rage.

Years pass, and Eleanor’s painful reality begins to unravel in strange ways. The first time it happens, she walks through a school doorway, and finds herself in a cornfield, beneath wide blue skies. When she stumbles back into her own world, time has flown by without her. Again and again, against her will, she falls out of her world and into other, stranger ones, leaving behind empty rooms and worried loved ones.

One fateful day, Eleanor leaps from a cliff and is torn from her world altogether. She meets a mysterious stranger, Mea, who reveals to Eleanor the weight of her family’s loss. To save her broken parents, and rescue herself, Eleanor must learn how deep the well of her mother’s grief and her father’s heartbreak truly goes. Esmerelda’s death was not the only tragic loss in her family’s fragmented history, and unless Eleanor can master her strange new abilities, it may not be the last.

About the Author . . .

JASON GURLEY is the author of Greatfall, The Man Who Ended the World, and the fiction collection Deep Breath Hold Tight, among other works. His stories have appeared in the anthologies Loosed Upon the World and Help Fund My Robot Army!!! He was raised in Alaska and Texas, and now lives and writes in Portland, Oregon.

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