White Picket Fences is a raw, emotional, and spellbinding book full of tangible characters and realistic family relationships. The story is told through the viewpoint of a different character in each chapter. In doing this the author is able to delve deep into the experiences and emotions of a number of main players in the story instead of just one. This book is a story about family. It is about the past and how it affects the present. It is about pain and whether or not it is best to allow pain and trauma to remain hidden or reveal it to the light. It is about the relationships between parents and their children. It is a story of love between a man and a woman. And it is a story about friendship and trust. There are many secrets in the story. Some secrets are fresh while others remain from generations past. Some of these secrets will be revealed and wrestled with in the opening chapters and others remain buried until the final pages. It is a captivating story that holds your attention cover to cover.
Excellent book, characters, and plot. Also shows the dangers of families bottling things up instead of dealing with them. The Christian content could have been a little heavier, and there were a couple of inappropriate words, but overall, I recommend the book - very good read.
How many of us have the "white picket fence" image but inside we are dealing with secrets and pain that we hope will go away if we ignore it? In the beginning, I felt kinda sorry for Tally as she again is left with family she doesn't know and her dad disappears to another country. As she settles with her Aunt Amanda's family which everyone hopes will bring stability to Tally's life, you soon realize that emotionally, Tally is more stable than the rest of the household. This is a great story that will help you see that the secrets we all struggle with will not go away as long as we ignore them. In fact, the truth will set you free.
Things are not always what they seem behind the white picket fences. As young girls we dream of living in a house with a white picket fence. It seems to be the picture of a home that is just perfect. But as we get to know the Janvier family, we see there are secrets, secrets that are silently breaking this family apart. As Tally's father leaves her with her Aunt Amanda, we see the secrets beginning to unfold. We find Chase, the teenage son who is struggling with remembering a past that haunts him, while his parents would rather leave it behind. We see Tally and Chase form a bond as they begin a school project. During their project they meet two Holocaust survivors who share their stories, and as their stories unfold, the past of secrets is becoming clear. Amanda wants to confront Chase with the past, but her husband Neil wants to leave it where it is, not wanting to face what could be. Susan Meissner brings to light that secrets can destroy a family. Secrets hurt those who are holding them, and those too who are in the dark. When the Janvier family uncovers the truth, they are set free from a past that has haunted them. I enjoyed reading each page of this story, a story that touches so many of our lives, a story of secrets. I could identify with the mother, Amanda, who loves her son so much she wants to see him unleash the past so he can move forward, but also the father, Neil, who is fearful of what remembering the past may do to his son. Susan Meissner weaves the characters of this story together so well, you feel as though you are there right with them. This is one that I will share with friends, one that shows us to be open and honest with those we love. Secrets do not protect us, they destroy all that is good. Come and find out all that happens to the Janvier family through this beautiful, but haunting story of secrets.
Susan Meissner is one of the most prolific authors that I have ever read. Whenever someone asks me to recommend a new author or some books to them, I ALWAYS include her on that list. Every single one of her books have been wonderful reads that are not only entertaining but though provoking and highly impacting. I really like Tally and Chase. Not only do they get along well as cousins but they both try to help each other understand their past. By helping the other person rediscover their life, they are able to take a deeper look into their own soul. The Holocaust/Jewish story was extremely interesting and one I myself would like to delve in further. Amanda's story, while not as intriguing as Tally's and Chase's, is worth reading as well. Her attempts at keeping up the perfect family lifestyle doesn't go as plan, and neither does her relationships with her husband or male colleague. I thought the cover of the book was absolutely perfect. There's that idealistic white fence which represents the perfect household, but the paint is peeling and there's a cobweb on it. It's so simplistic yet speaks a thousand words. I thought it was interesting that I felt that I kept wanting Tally's father to make an appearance in the story but he never does. It bothered me at first until I read the author interview which brings up this point and explains her choice to not put him in the book. I really like books that include those question/answer interviews in the back of the book so that the reader can automatically feel a sense of completion.This book is another wonderful work of art from Susan Meissner and destined to be another highly recommended title. Honestly if you have not picked up any of her books before, you MUST. Seriously you will NOT be disappointed.