The men in Muris life have let her down. Her fathers battle with alcohol ripped him from her life when she was three. He art-loving husband has now sent her packing with their teen daughter, Nova, and young son, Truman. They end up at her deceased fathers place in the deserted desert of remote Central Oregon. There she meets another man who adds misery to her life, Linc Jackson, a troublesome neighbor who owns most of the local town. Muri has left her familar city life, where she worked as a school librarian, in search of the father she never knew. They move in with her Aunt Lutie and Uncle Tiny in the ramshackle trailer where her dad once lived, behind a fence built he built from oven doors. Muri discovers her roots in her Native American heritage and its ties to the land. Ancient artifacts play a role in the story, both physically and symbolically. Theres enough suspense to make me wonder if the obvious man is not the thief.The intricacies of relationships are explored throughout the storyparent and child, from both perspectives; sibling; friends; enemies; professional; and, of course, romantic ones too. Muri deals with multiple issues, working through her inner struggles while facing all the problems life throws at her. Readers can identify with her trials and cheer her on to come out on top. As she says, shes constructing a new life. How many of us have to or wish to?I have lived in Central Oregon, so appreciated the setting. Especially in the early part of the book I found some fine-tuned twists of phrasing that added to the enjoyment. Lindas way with words should lead her to further literary success.
The Fence My Father Built was an interesting look into a different lifestyle and culture pertaining to water rights, land ownership and Native American burial grounds. It read like a woman's fiction novel, which was probably the author's intent. The author also used pretty creative descriptions at times, almost giving the story a bit of a literary feel. Nicely written.I enjoyed the parts of the story where Muri read the journal that her father had written in before he died. I also loved the whole situation with the artifacts and Muri trying to show that Linc was a scoundrel who didn't care about his neighbors at all. It almost made me feel like I was watching a movie or an old TV show where the current episode dealt with a confrontation between the good guy and the bad guy in a hick town with a hick lawyer and jaded citizens who were afraid of the crook, Linc.Since I love romance, I would have liked to have seen more happening between Muri and Rubin, her neighbor who was also the local veterinarian. There was so much untapped potential there. Muri's friendship with Rubin could have helped her to heal from the sense of betrayal and unworthiness she received from her ex-husband who dumped her. Maybe this will be addressed in another book?The characters were all quirky and different, as was the setting in general. If you love reading about dysfunctional families this one will speak to your heart.I didn't get Muri's excessive outrage, but I did appreciate her heart for wishing she had known her father before he passed away. I also appreciated how this story showed that her father loved Jesus even though he couldn't kick the alcohol. In the end, I loved that Muri did feel like she had some peace inside once she had fully connected with the father she didn't really know or remember. That was poignant.
Author Linda S. Clare has published her first novel--and it's a doozy! One of the best debut novels I've ever read, The Fence My Father Built captured my heart on page one and refused to let go. Clare's writing style is warm and witty and real, and the story is both quirky and poignant. And oh, the memories and feelings it dredges up along the way! This is a book you don't want to miss. I, for one, intend to watch for more from this talented author.
Take a father who longs to be part of his daughters life, a broken marriage between an interracial couple, and a young girl who grows up knowing a part of her life is missing. Add a legacy of alcoholism and addiction that follows the girl into adulthood, and her need to know the side of the family she was never around. Mix in a rebellious teenage girl, potbellied pigs, an intriguing male neighbor, and a fence line built of oven doors, and you have The Fence My Father Built.Set mostly in the open range of Central Oregon, Ms. Clares novel follows the story of Muri Pond, who has been called to settle some family business left behind when her father dies. A feud existed between her dad and Linc Jackson, the man who "owns" the town, with the ownership of land and a creek in question. Its up to Muri to find the cause of the disagreement and try to right it. In the process, she discovers much about her own background and faith, and why its so important.Ms. Clare draws from her own experience of discovering her Native American heritage. She brings to life eccentric characters whose lives present an interesting change from the norm. She did a great job capturing the ongoing clash between Muri and her teenage daughter. (Im thinking the voice of experience here!) Ms. Clare deals with cultural relationships that are seldom explored in books, leading to thought-provoking moments for the reader.The Fence My Father Built is a well-written novel that will leave you waiting impatiently for Ms. Clares next book. I gladly give it four stars.
Linda Clare pens a heart warming and sensitive story about a woman, Muri Pond, whose whole world has been turned upside down with her pending divorce. An Aunt she hardly knows seeks her out for help; help in keeping the property that belonged to her fatherthe father she never remembered meeting. She had hopes of meeting him someday but learns from her Aunt, her father is dead.Muri brings her two teenage children to stay with her Aunt while she tries to understand the lawsuit against her fathers property for water rights. When they get to the Central Oregon high desert property; they soon discover that her Aunt lives in a trailer in the middle of nowhere, Muri wonders if she's done the right thing. There's no Super Wal-Mart, or any other modern convenience near by. Reality hits. What has she done?Life, as Muri and her children have known it, is over. Fighting this legal battle might take longer than Muri thinks. Her oldest child, Nova, gives her mother a really bad time (the way only teenagers can) about taking them away from her friends and the world they left behind. Nova couldn't get out of this desert trap fast enough.Muri discovers things about herself, her father and the beautiful nature around her that are surprising. In the author notes Linda reveals shes had a similar journey in life where she was seeking to learn about her father and her Native American roots. I really enjoyed how Linda told this story though the eyes of Muri with all her struggles, feelings and wonder. I received a review copy of this book and I'm looking forward to reading more books by this author.