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
Childhood friends Laura Gantt, Sean Halloran, and Cassie Bright (along with Cassie's little sister, Tig) vowed they'd always watch out for one another. Then they grew up and two moved away. But now they're all back in town at the same time, and they need each otherâ€”whether all three want to admit it or not.
Laura is in town for her mother's funeral. An only child whose father drowned twelve years ago, Laura is the sole heir, responsible to settle her mother's estate. Rumor has it, however, that her father didn't 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 he's alive and well. With the help of her friends, Laura must uncover the truth while helping Cassie discover the meaning of her own mother's disconcerting change in behavior.
"A Stillness of Chimes" is a mystery that kept me guessing until the end. But it's also a story of faithful friendship and patient love, of steadfast loyalty to those who don't 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 I've come to watch for. "A Stillness of Chimes" did not disappoint!
Laura Gantt has returned to her small home town of Prospect, Georgia, to settle up her mother's estate. The town is abuzz with rumours: it seems her father, Elliot, has been seenâ€”even though he's been dead for years. Did he fake his death? If so, why? And if he really is dead, who is snooping around Laura's house? Meanwhile, Laura also has to deal with Sean Halloran, her high school sweetheart, and Ardelle, her best friend's mother, who seems to be losing her mind.
The story is intriguing from the beginning, yet it's 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. It's 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.
A Stillness of Chimes by Meg Moseley is the story of Laura Gant, who comes home to Georgia for her mother's funeral only to learn that her father has been seen around town - after he was thought to have drowned years ago. As she begins to clean out her mother's house she finds clues to a family history she was never aware of, and she starts to get her hopes up that her dad might be alive after all.
This book gave me the feeling of musty smells and peeling paint, but in the best possible way. The descriptions of the town and settings were so colorful, and there was an undertone of creepy mystery through most of the book that added to the overall charm of the story. There was also a subtle romance through the book as Laura is thrown together with her old flame as she investigates.
As I was thinking back on the story, I'm not sure I have read a book that was as interesting as this where so little actually happened! I thought it was very well written, and it kept me interested without even needing to use a lot of action, which is not easy to do. The characters were really believable and likable, and I liked the subtle character growth through the story. The ending was good and fit really well with the tone of the rest of the book, I thought.
I'd recommend this book for anyone who likes a mixture of drama and mystery.
Note: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for this review. This is my honest opinion.
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 solved_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 couldn't 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*