Yonder by LeeAnne Hansen is a beautiful novel. It is set mainly in a small town in Mississippi, in the 1940s. Life and death in the south, at the time, is vividly and poetically portrayed. It was easy to get lost in the narrative and imagine I was right there.
It is a family drama, a mystery, suspense, and a romance with a touch of paranormal happenings, which could blend into the action as coincidence and intuition.
The novel starts with Isabel’s childhood, on her 10th birthday and her first crush, we gradually see some of her subsequent birthdays, leading up to her middle twenties. We witness her childhood hopes and dreams, her painful and sudden departure from her hometown and move to New York, her first adult romance, her first job, as well as heartbreak, devastation and her return home on her father’s death, leading up to the unravelling of the family secret and discovering true love.
Isabel is a loving, generous, yet naive, young girl, who gradually, and on occasions traumatically, finds out who she is and what she wants out of life. She also uncovers a shocking family secret, which came as a complete surprise to me.
All the characters come to life vividly, Isabel’s family, as well as her childhood friends and their families. There are a few unpleasant characters, and others who are simply immature. I have a favourite character, and that’s Ben, you’ll understand why when you read it. He’s solid, dependable and patient, but unfortunately, not everyone in the novel values these qualities.
The novel can be read as a standalone, because it has a clear and satisfactory ending, tying up all the loose ends, but there are other characters, too, with stories to be told, and I’m also interested in seeing some more of Isabel’s life, so I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series.
I listened to the audio book, narrated by the author, which was an added treat.
LeeAnne Hansen was born in Paris, grew up in Oklahoma and now lives in sunny southern California with her husband and cats. She enjoys writing, acting and playing bass guitar. She can be seen gracing the stage in various theaters or even directing. She is a graduate of the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in New York City and has studied art and astronomy. She also thoroughly enjoys long walks on the beach.
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