The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I debated for some time whether this was a a three star book or a four star book, I think I wanted the book to live up to the hype I had created for it. Ultimately, I liked this book, it is a promising debut by a talented new author, however, she hasn't hit her stride yet and this is a three star book.
Lucy Dane, is coping with the disappearance and eventual murder of her friend Cheri and the disappearance of her mother when she was a baby. Despite her deep connections to Henbane, Missouri, the small town in the Ozark's, where she has lived all her life, she feels like an outsider with few friends. People whisper about her mother, an exotic beauty, who many thought to be a witch. As Lucy investigates Cheri's murder, she learns more about her own mother as well as her family, and just how far people will go to keep Henbane's secrets.
This book lacked the suspense I was expecting, based on its comparisons to Gillian Flynn's Gone Girl. I had it figured out pretty early on, leaving the book rather un-suspenseful. The story was interesting enough and the writing masterful enough to keep me reading, despite the lack of suspense.
The best parts of the novel were the chapters from Lila's perspective, that is where author Laura McHugh's talent really shown. Lila was a very interesting and complex character and I felt like her story ended a little abruptly, even when we finally discovered how she came to be a missing person. Her disappearance didn't feel very true to character or believable. I would have liked to had more from Lila.
The town of Henbane was a very interesting place, its secrets, its crime and its prominent citizens. Having grown up in a tiny town, I can relate to the secrets the deep family ties and the suspicion of outsiders. Henbane took this all to the extreme, and I found it a bit unrealistic that all the secrets Henbane held were kept so well. This book touches on some unsavory topics, human trafficking, exploitation of children, extreme poverty, drugs and dismemberment, most of which Lucy's family or friends are involved in.
I found this book to be an enjoyable read, with some good insights, however, it left me a bit unsatisfied. I look forward to reading more from McHugh is the future, The Weight of Blood is a strong debut and proves the author has great talent waiting to be refined.
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"You grow up feeling the weight of blood, of family. There's no forsaking kin. But you can't help when kin forsakes you or when strangers come to be family."