Thursday, August 15, 2019

The Accidentals
by Minrose Gwin

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 416
Format: book
Buy the Book: HarperCollins

Goodreads:  In the fall of 1957, Olivia McAlister is living in Opelika, Mississippi, caring for her two girls, June and Grace, and her husband, Holly. She dreams of living a much larger life--seeing the world and returning to her wartime job at a landing boat factory in New Orleans. As she watches over the birds in her yard, Olivia feels like an “accidental”—a migratory bird blown off course.

When Olivia becomes pregnant again, she makes a fateful decision, compelling Grace, June, and Holly to cope in different ways. While their father digs up the backyard to build a bomb shelter, desperate to protect his family, Olivia’s spinster sister tries to take them all under her wing. But the impact of Olivia’s decision reverberates throughout Grace’s and June’s lives. Grace, caught up in an unconventional love affair, becomes one of the “girls who went away” to have a baby in secret. June, guilt-ridden for her part in exposing Grace’s pregnancy, eventually makes an unhappy marriage. Meanwhile Ed Mae Johnson, an African-American care worker in a New Orleans orphanage, is drastically impacted by Grace’s choices.

As the years go by, their lives intersect in ways that reflect the unpredictable nature of bird flight that lands in accidental locations—and the consolations of imperfect return.



Kritters Thoughts:  June and Grace are sisters and their lives change when their mother makes a decision that sends both of their lives down a different path.  Without a mother at a young age, both girls make life choices that could have been different had their mother stayed in their lives til they were older.  Grace gets pregnant at a young age and has to deal with those consequences and June is caught up in Grace's drama and has some of her own!  

I love a story that spans many years and centers around how one generations decisions impacts future generations.  June and Grace react in very different ways to the death of their mother and then to see that impact others was very entertaining.  

Told through multiple points of view, I enjoyed seeing a fuller picture of the story from the lens of quite a few people.  There are even two external to the family that narrate and that was so interesting to read their chapters.  I have to admit I was nervous/sad that neither June nor Grace narrate the last chapter, but in the end I can say it worked and I was glad to have resolution to that minor plot line (sorry vague, no spoilers!)

I loved Minrose Gwin's ability to really send the reader back to place and time.  I felt swept up in the late 50s in the south and the way she progressed the story through time seemed seamless.  I am intrigued to read The Queen of Palmyra as it seems similar to this story with a distinct setting and an interesting plot to follow.  


Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from TLC Tours.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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