Book Review: The Mourning Hours by Paula Treick DeBoard

mourning hours

A family’s loyalty is put to the ultimate test .

Kirsten Hammarstrom hasn’t been home to her tiny corner of rural Wisconsin in years-not since the mysterious disappearance of a local teenage girl rocked the town and shattered her family. Kirsten was just nine years old when Stacy Lemke went missing, and the last person to see her alive was her boyfriend, Johnny-the high school wrestling star and Kirsten’s older brother. No one knows what to believe-not even those closest to Johnny-but the event unhinges the quiet farming community and pins Kirsten’s family beneath the crushing weight of suspicion.

Now, years later, a new tragedy forces Kirsten and her siblings to return home, where they must confront the devastating event that shifted the trajectory of their lives.

Received in ebook format from www.netgalley.com

This story is narrated by the 9 year old Kirsten, youngest sister of Johnny, and tells of the relationship between her brother Johnny and his girlfriend Stacy.

The story starts with the growing relationship between Johnny, the 17 year old local wrestling jock, and Stacy, the 16 year old red head who makes a play for him whilst still 15. It is soon clear that she is a tease, obsessive and a distraction, making him drop his friends, wrestling and schoolwork.

During a wild storm, on a date night, Johnny comes home late, having had a spat with Stacy who walks off into the night and never makes it home. Much of the book follows the immediate and subsequent fall out of the investigation into her disappearance, ultimately resulting in the family breaking up

Years later, the family come back together after the lonely death of the father following a heart attack. It is then that the past comes back to confront them all, the children in particular, and some questions are answered, and more questions posed. As a 9year old Kirsten doesnt get to know all the details, and is often shut out of conversations between the adults, leaving her feeling disconnected from those around her.

Certainly a book I would recommend to others

The book is poignant in its description of what such a young girl sees of the affect of such a crime on her family and the breakdown of relationships especially those she has with her brother and father.

There are few scenes of violence in this book, and instead is the smaller things that constitute the majority of the book, so it seems that little actually happens, and is more a study of relationships.

As a Mira subimprint, this is certainly not a traditional Harlequin book, in that it deals with family relationships and very little traditional romance. (Mira is also the imprint for Debbie Macomber and has a reputation for crime novels as well)

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