Today’s second team review comes from Terry, she blogs here http://terrytylerbookreviews.blogspot.co.uk/
Terry has been reading Whispers In The Alders by H A Callum
WHISPERS IN THE ALDERS by H A Callum
4.5 out of 5 stars
I received a review copy of this book from the author for an honest review.
This book was submitted to Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team, of which I am a member. Interestingly, I didn’t initially choose it as the genre and blurb didn’t particularly appeal, but then I got talking to the author on Twitter (about something else entirely) and he asked me if I would take a review copy. I’m glad I did.
Lesson for readers: don’t bypass books just because they don’t immediately appeal; you never know what gems you might find behind that quiet cover.
Lesson for writers: talk to people on social media!
Whispers in the Alders is set in the small east US town of Alder Ferry, where young teenagers Aubrey (female) and Tommy both suffer loveless, cold childhoods. Aubrey’s family are wealthy, whereas Tommy’s are poorer, and his life is quite brutal. They meet in a wooded area behind Aubrey’s family home, amongst the alders, a place that both of them feel is ‘home’.
The book starts in the present, with Aubrey in Portland, Maine, as an adult; she has left her family and the prejudices of the small town long behind. It then goes back to her early teens, and the loneliness she feels. The books spans the period of this time until early adulthood, and follows the tragedies of her and Tommy’s lives.
I’d class this book as literary fiction, as well as a contemporary ‘coming of age’ story. Much of the writing is beautiful; I read that Mr Callum is a poet, too, and this is evident, but it’s not wordy for the sake of it. It’s quite a dense sort of novel, with much description, and on occasion I felt it could have been trimmed down just a little, but that’s just personal preference, and I certainly appreciated every line. The plot itself develops slowly, with some shocking outcomes (child abuse and homophobia, but nothing graphic), and it’s perfectly plotted. It’s a heartrending, lonely sort of book; I longed for Aubrey and Tommy to find happiness.
A hidden gem by an extremely talented writer, very American (which I liked), and one I definitely recommend ~ I hope some other members of Rosie’s team pick it up, or that anyone who reads this takes the plunge and clicks ‘buy’!
Alder Ferry would have been just another nondescript suburb living in the shadow of its urban parent if not for one detail: the mysterious stand of alder trees anchoring the town to its past and standing as a reminder to the wilderness that once stood in its place.
In the shadows of the alders a boy named Tommy found refuge. There, an eclectic book collection was his only companion through a tumultuous childhood, serving as his escape from the brutal realities of his life. That was, until Aubrey appeared.
Born of different worlds, the alders become their escape while their unlikely friendship blossoms into a love that few people ever come to understand or enjoy—proving that true friendship is a romantic pursuit in its purest form.
Together they come of age in a town hostile to their friendship—a friendship that challenges the intersecting boundaries of class, gender and sexuality. Prejudice and privilege masquerade to destroy their dreams while class, gender and faith collide. All are tested as Tommy and Aubrey carry each other through their teen years and into adulthood.
Whispers in the Alders is an impassioned experience that will test the emotions and is a story that will linger with the reader long after the last page is turned.
About the author
Of all the hats I have worn, the only one that has truly defined me is that of the writer. Whatever has happened, and wherever I have been, writing has always been my guidepost.
Writing has been the best way to examine life while contrasting it to the “what ifs” and “why nots” that surround the marquis events of our existence. This is also why we read: to give us a greater understanding of our own lives through the lens of characters that face similar challenges as we do.
I’m glad you stopped in to visit. I hope you enjoy what you read here and take some of it along with you to share. As always, I am most interested in what you – my readers – have to say.
The light is always on and the keyboard endlessly humming along, through late nights and endless cups of coffee. It’s a writer’s life!