Bethlehem by Karen Kelly

Publication Info: Expected publication date: July 9th 2019 by St. Martin’s Press. Kindle pre-pub edition courtesy of NetGalley

Bethlehem

Summary: Joanna Collier recently moved into her husband’s family home in Pennsylvania with her two young children, Charlie and Daisy. Frank Collier moved them there to help his aging mother after his father died. With her husband working and traveling most of the time, Joanna is feeling at loose ends, not quite sure of her place in the Collier family’s overly-large house or her relationship with her aloof mother-in-law, Susanna.

On a walk with her children, Joanna meets Doe, one of the caretakers of the local cemetery. Doe is a charming, if someone fey woman, who gives Joanna a much warmer welcome than she feels at home. Doe’s grandson, Daniel, is also on the premises. Joanna is drawn to the laconic, gentle man, who listens to her far more than her husband does.

Loneliness drives Joanna to make a serious mistake that could potentially destroy her marriage. But she finds an unexpected ally in her mother-in-law, who has secrets of her own.

Comments: This novel takes place in two time periods, the 20’s and 60’s. Joanna’s is the more current story, but the more compelling, complex tale is the older one–that of two families whose lives are entwined for generations. I found the novel interesting and enjoyable, but not riveting. I did like the setting, having grown up on the east coast and experiencing the boom and bust of the steel industry.

Recommended for readers of General Fiction and those who enjoy family sagas.

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