A Stillness of Chimes
Atmospheric, hauntingly beautiful story
A Stillness of Chimes - the title itself is compelling and descriptive of what readers will find within these pages. It sets a mood, an atmosphere, almost foreshadowing with these words: "There was no sound but the wind in the trees and the chimes. Then the wind stilled. Everything was hushed, as if the whole world waited for something to happen."
A Stillness of Chimes is one of the most original and memorable books I've ever read. It almost has a haunting quality to it, and its characters are still in my thoughts. The setting is the small north Georgia town of Prospect - a town that was "half tourist trap and half hick town." The storyline beautifully incorporates several themes - childhood friendships and family secrets . . . PTSD, parental abuse, abandonment . . . questions and doubts when it comes to matters of faith - all in Meg's unique and lyrical style.
Meg's stories capture the essence of the South and there's almost a magical quality to her writing, especially when she sets her story in the Blue Ridge Mountains of southern Appalachia. This area is my heritage and I can truly say that Meg has captured the essence of these mountains and the people. Her outstanding first novel, When Sparrows Fall, had a similar setting and style, so I was thrilled that she returned to this familiar setting.
"Laura Gantt didn't believe in ghosts, but sometimes she wondered if living across from a graveyard had warped her. Part Irish, all southern, descended from moonshiners and holy rollers, she'd always believed in things she couldn't see. Her dad said it was just the old whisperings in their blood."
This opening paragraph gives a sense of mood, Meg's lyrical writing style, and a glimpse into lead character, Laura Gantt. I was immediately drawn to Laura and Sean, loved the friendship and chemistry between them. But it's the off-screen character of Laura's father, Elliott Gantt, who drives the story. Elliott is such an interesting and compelling character - he fought in Vietnam, loved his family, and was trained in survival techniques. He could also play - and build - the fiddle, mandolin, guitar.
One of my favorite secondary characters was the mysterious and wise Granny Colfax, so funny in her thoughts regarding cell phones: "All those calls, cluttering up the heavens. Turning the whole sky into a tower of Babel. I wonder if anybody ever really listens to each other anymore." She could have easily been in my family tree!
Spiritual themes are woven throughout with subtlety, in a way that fits this narrative - and I think that is a sign of mature writing. How beautiful are Sean's thoughts as he looks at the graveyard "with all its crosses that preached silent sermons about the life to come"!
Then there's the scene where hearing the "Doxology" reminds Laura of the creed her father taught her as a child: I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Laura acknowledges that "she would never understand any of it completely. Not this side of heaven." And isn't that where most of us are? Not fully understanding, seeing only in part - but that rich heritage of faith runs through our veins and we look forward to all that will be in heaven. And that's where a childlike faith and trust enters in.
This wasn't a book that I could rush through, so I read slowly and savored each word, often going back to read through certain passages again. Highly recommended to those who enjoy relationship drama with hidden depths.
Thank you to Meg Moseley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest
July 15, 2014
A Mystery - A Story of Faithfulness
Childhood friends Laura Gantt, Sean Halloran, and Cassie Bright (along with CassieÃ¢ÂÂs little sister, Tig) vowed theyÃ¢ÂÂd always watch out for one another. Then they grew up and two moved away. But now theyÃ¢ÂÂre all back in town at the same time, and they need each otherÃ¢ÂÂwhether all three want to admit it or not.
Laura is in town for her motherÃ¢ÂÂs funeral. An only child whose father drowned twelve years ago, Laura is the sole heir, responsible to settle her motherÃ¢ÂÂs estate. Rumor has it, however, that her father didnÃ¢ÂÂt really drown. Rather he faked his own death and went into hiding. Members of the small community in Georgia have started catching glimpses of him, insisting heÃ¢ÂÂs alive and well. With the help of her friends, Laura must uncover the truth while helping Cassie discover the meaning of her own motherÃ¢ÂÂs disconcerting change in behavior.
"A Stillness of Chimes" is a mystery that kept me guessing until the end. But itÃ¢ÂÂs also a story of faithful friendship and patient love, of steadfast loyalty to those who donÃ¢ÂÂt always deserve it yet receive it anyway from people who choose to care about them when given every reason to simply walk away. I appreciated this story and thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending a complimentary copy in exchange for this honest review. Meg Moseley is an author whose books IÃ¢ÂÂve come to watch for. "A Stillness of Chimes" did not disappoint!
June 29, 2014
Romance, Suspense and Small-town Charm
Laura Gantt has returned to her small home town of Prospect, Georgia, to settle up her motherÃ¢ÂÂs estate. The town is abuzz with rumours: it seems her father, Elliot, has been seenÃ¢ÂÂeven though heÃ¢ÂÂs been dead for years. Did he fake his death? If so, why? And if he really is dead, who is snooping around LauraÃ¢ÂÂs house? Meanwhile, Laura also has to deal with Sean Halloran, her high school sweetheart, and Ardelle, her best friendÃ¢ÂÂs mother, who seems to be losing her mind.
The story is intriguing from the beginning, yet itÃ¢ÂÂs only in the very last pages that we see the significance of those first few pages. The plot unfolds slowly, giving us time to get to know the characters and to wonder, along with Laura, if her father really is alive, and to puzzle the other secrets that unfold as we get to know the characters.
A Stillness of Chimes is full of secrets and mystery, and captured my attention from the start. ItÃ¢ÂÂs the story of rediscovered romance as three childhood friends reunited as adults and coming to grips with grown-up problems including death, marriage difficulties and ageing parents. Well worth reading.
Thanks to Multnomah Books and Blogging for Books for providing a free book for review.
May 13, 2014
A circle murder-mystery...
Laura Gantt returns home to Prospect, Georgia, to bury her mother; however, rumors are circulating around town that perhaps her dad is still alive rather than presumed drowned in an accident twelve years prior. Sean Halloran, a luthier with an abusive father, joins Laura in the search, though he remains skeptical. As pieces of the puzzle begin to all fit together, could a murder be solvedÃ¢ÂÂ¦or is there much more involved?
A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
In this circle murder-mystery novel, Meg Moseley returns to a story that she put away for quite some time. With tidbits of suspense, end-of-the-chapter cliffhangers, realistic events and enthralling writing patterns, she created a book I couldnÃ¢ÂÂt stop reading until finished. The twists and turns included kept me guessing while my emotions flip-flopped with the characters and events. Though confused at the beginning by the title and the book cover, it soon became apparent the reasons for those choices. With Christian elements scattered throughout, I could truly recommend this book.
4.5 (out of 5) pennies
*I received a complimentary copy of A Stillness of Chimes from Multnomah Publishers for my honest review*
April 17, 2014