"Even when the rainbow seems to pass right by me....I'm still finding Gold in the clouds....."

31 March 2018

2018 Book Review #11: Little Night

What a wonderful story!

I've read just a couple of this author's books and each time I did enjoy them.

This one has a bit of mystery, lots of drama, a bit of romance, a bit of melancholy and an underlying theme of the mother-daughter and sister-sister relationship.  It also touches on domestic violence and emotional/physical abuse between a husband and wife and father to children.  It's very well done!


Clare Burke's life was going well.  She was in a great relationship with a wonderful young man named Paul who was an urban park ranger.  Both of them were into nature, particularly birding. Clare was an accomplished urban birder and nature blogger.  She worked for The Institute for Avian Studies.  Both lived in the Chelsea area of NYC.

And then suddenly everything changed.  Clare went to visit her older sister Anne at her home in Montauk.  Anne, who used to work as a researcher in the NYU Biology Lab, was married to the very controlling and gifted glassblower, Frederik Rasmussen, from Denmark.  They had 2 children: 5 year old Gilly and his little sister, aged 3, named Grit. 

It was February 1993 and Clare had some Valentine treats for her niece and nephew whom she had never meant because once Anne and Frederik were married, Federik kept Anne away from the family.  While Anne, Clare and the children were having tea and coloring, Frederik came home, was furious that Clare was in their home, and attacked Anne by putting his hands around her throat and squeezing.  Clare was fearful for her sister so grabbed a red hot poker from the fireplace and hit Frederik with it on the side of the face.  He called the police while Clare was trying to get Anne and the children to leave with her, and the police believed his lies that she tried to murder him.  The difficult part for Clare, is that Anne sided with her husband!  Clare ended up serving time in a maximum security prison for women for 2 years.

Now, it is 20 years later and she has been living a quiet life in Manhattan.  She managed to get her job back with the Institute. Sadly, Paul moved on due to her insistence while she was in jail. However, they did remain friends.

One day she gets a letter from her niece Grit who is now 21 years old. She's in her last year at Emerson College in Boston and plans on visiting Claire at her apartment.  Little does Clare know, but Grit plans on moving in. In fact, Clare hasn't seen Grit since that horrible day in 1993 because shortly after the trial, Frederik moved his family back to Denmark.

As they begin to forge a relationship of aunt and niece...and friends...Clare begins to see just how much damage Frederik has done to her and her sister Anne.  And what about Gilly?  What happened to him? and how does Clares own father and their relationship play into the family dynamics?

Grit really wants a relationship with Clare so they begin to dig deep into their family's history to build one.  They have to face the wounds inflicted by both Anne (mom and sister) and Frederik (father and brother-in-law) and find a place of healing.

Clare begins to suspect that Anne has followed Grit to NYC. She and Grit hope for a long-awaited reunion with her.  And while Clare is healing, will she heal and restore her relationship with Paul?

As Grit begins to get comfortable with Clare, she leaves Anne's diary for Clare to find.  Clare is shocked to read Anne's words.  HOW could Anne just kick Grit out of her home in Denmark? Clare discovers just how horrible things were in that household and begins to lose hope that she and Anne will ever be reunited.

Why is Grit called "Little Night"?  and who is the woman they keep seeing in the hooded cape around Manhattan?  Is it Anne?  Has she come back to reclaim her family?  What secret will she reveal?

This book was gripping from the very first page.  It moved quickly and the setting and character development was quickly established.

I loved reading about the owls and the other birds in Central Park and other areas of NYC.  The nature lover in me really enjoyed that.

This book has a main theme of domestic violence and the far-reaching consequences when children are raised in such a home.  

The book also contains a suicide scene but it is not graphic or poorly done.  In fact, the reader isn't 100% positive that suicide even took place.  It lends itself to the drama in a very real way though and really sets up Grit's character as a young adult.

The book is also about family dynamics, romantic relationships, forgiveness and betrayal.

In my opinion, this book is appropriate for ages 17 and older (due to some mature content and the main theme).

On a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the highest, I rate this a 10.


Susanne said...

I've never read this author though do have a book by her in my pile. I think it's called Sandcastles.

Faith said...

Susanne i think that's the one i read by her!! I've only read a couple. Of hers.