Sunday, July 8, 2012

Magic Hour

I mentioned in my post Vacation Book List that one of my favorite summer authors is Kristin Hannah. I just finished another one of her excellent books: Magic Hour.

Following her usual themes, Hannah wrote this book about sisters and set it in the wilds of the Pacific Northwest. But from there, she took some unique departures. The book centers on renowned child therapist Dr. Julia Cates, whose practice has recently dissolved after a nasty murder trial involving one of her patients. At the same time, her partly-estranged sister Ellie, the chief of police in the tiny town of Rain Valley, has a major problem on her hands: a wild, feral little girl, apparently unable to communicate with humans, has appeared up in a tree, clutching a wolf pup. Ellie has no idea what to do with her or how to find her family. She calls on Julia to solve the mystery of this little girl, to crack the shell of fear and savagery around her, and to help her learn to speak. As the two, along with the handsome town doctor and some old friends of Ellie's, attempt to help the girl they've decided to call Alice, they both learn to put some of their family's past behind them and create new ties with each other and with Alice.

I'm not sure how appropriate the title itself is, because it only clicks in the last few sentences of the book, but there certainly is something magical about the story. The relationship between Julia and Alice in particular is incredibly beautiful and heartwarming. The two characters draw each other out in a way that's methodical in terms of child development and yet perfectly paced for storytelling. Then there's the mystery that surrounds Alice's appearance, which builds in tension throughout the book, even as the relationships between the characters are building, making the stakes even higher. In short, it's a very well-crafted story, and I admire Kristin Hannah for that. But mostly it's just a great book to sink into, and I highly recommend it, especially as a can't-put-this-down summer read.

I'm actually about two books behind in my posting- I finished two more fantastic ones this weekend, so stay tuned for The Castaways and The Power of Habit! 

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