Book review: A Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthy

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Historical Fiction
Published by Bantam
Sep 29, 2015 | 272 Pages | 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 
 ISBN 9780804176545

Synopsis:

For 13 days in October 1962, the world held its breath—seemingly on the brink of nuclear war. Set against the backdrop of Cold War panic and politics, this enthralling novel tells the intimate and human story of a family whose own hearts are at war.

For the Avery family, the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis mark a turning point in their lives which will shape and forever change them. McCarthy captures pitch-perfectly the panic, tension, insanity and innocence of the time. The Avery family forms the emotional center of the novel, as their world starts to unravel during the heart-stopping buildup to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

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19689Meet the author:    Susan Carol McCarthy is the award-winning author of two novels, Lay That Trumpet in Our Hands and True Fires, and the nonfiction Boomers 101: The Definitive Collection. Her debut novel received the Chautauqua South Fiction Prize and has been widely selected by libraries and universities for their One Book, One Community and Freshman Year Read programs. A native Floridian, she lives in Carlsbad, California.

Connect with the author:    Website     Twitter    Facebook

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REVIEW:

I felt like I was in an audience watching a stage play – where the scenes and sets change but the characters remain the same.

The cast: a mother, father and a daughter. School friends, work mates and a family member that was supposed to be dead. A small town thrown into chaos and fear.

Wes Avery, a World War II pilot senses that something isn’t right. The local air force base begins flying in planes that shouldn’t be there. His suspicions are confirmed when trains travel all night loaded with equipment and gasoline that he needs to run his station is rationed. Television programs and local programs explain how to build air-raid shelters and what types of food to stock up in the event of a nuclear bomb explosion.

Amidst this onslaught of terror, several small dramas play out involving Wes’s family and close friends. This is not a fast-paced novel but compelling nonetheless. I found the historical aspect of the story very interesting as well as the medical treatment of persons with “nervous and mental disorders”. It was a fascinating travel back in time.

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