I thoroughly enjoyed The Lost Hours by Karen White which I read for her blog tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotions. It is definitely one of my favorites so far for this year. This novel is a mystery and yet so much more. It’s an emotional journey through lives past and present.
Piper Mills, who the story really revolves around, loses her parents at a young age and goes to live with her grandparents. Piper’s grandmother is quiet and withdrawn, not seemingly too involved with her so Piper naturally gravitates towards her grandfather who had always had high hopes for her. Piper loves horses and had dreams of becoming an Olympic equestrian and her grandfather supported that wholeheartedly. Since being the only survivor of the accident that took her parents, Piper feels pretty invincible. This comes crashing down around her when she has a really serious accident on her horse and ends up injuring herself badly; enough to make her scared of horses and withdrawing from competition permanently.
This accident and her grandfather’s death brings Piper back to her childhood home in Savannah. With her grandfather’s passing on the family lawyer comes by and this is when Piper begins to learn of old family secrets that have been buried for years. She finds torn pages from a scrapbook that her grandmother had hidden. This scrapbook hints at tragedy and also at a life that she never realized her grandmother had lived. She also finds a secret room in the house and a baby blue sweater. She is completely mystified and curious to find out more about this grandmother she never really knew.
Thus begins Piper’s journey into the past and her journey into healing her own broken spirit since her accident. Piper begins by tracking down one of her grandmother’s friends~one from the scrapbook and embarks on finding out the truth which she feels sure that Lily knows. However Lily isn’t parting with old truths easily. She has dark secrets of her own that she wants to remain hidden. Piper finds herself having to open up emotionally again to people and feelings in order to unearth the mystery surrounding what was her grandmother.
What I loved about this book was Piper learning about her grandmother. The grandmother she thought had nothing to share with her or teach her had a whole other life before Piper even existed. As the story unfolds Piper finds herself remembering more than once times when her grandmother had said or done something to help her along. Piper refers to her grandmother as the quiet presence in her life~a presence that she realized too late had actually had a huge impact on her life. There was a whole other person that was her grandmother that she had never known about. Had she just taken the time to ask her grandmother questions about her past and her life, she would have gotten to know this woman. Instead, she was much too busy with herself and riding; yet another aspect of her grandmother she hadn’t known~her grandmother had loved to ride also. I think that’s one important lesson to take from this novel. Take the time to chat with the elderly. They truly have wonderful tales to share with us of times past~times we will never see again in this world. It will make them happy but it will also enrich your own life in ways you probably can’t imagine.
This story wraps up wonderfully and I enjoyed it to the very last word. It deals with so many elements like race, disabilities and Alzheimer’s Disease and does it with grace. Karen White’s writing is beautiful and her words just flow on the paper leading you throughout the story with an elegance I loved. I look forward to reading more of her work.
I’d like to end with my favorite quote from the book…
- ‘Every woman should have a daughter to tell her stories to. Otherwise, the lessons learned are as useless as spare buttons from a discarded shirt. And all that is left is a fading name and the shape of a nose or the color of hair. The men who write the history books will tell you the stories of battles and conquests. But the women will tell you the stories of people’s hearts.’ (pg. 24 and the back cover, The Lost Hours by Karen White)
Many thanks to Karen for writing such a wonderful novel and to Dorothy at Pump Up Your Book Promotion for inviting me to participate in the tour. You can buy The Lost Hours by Karen White here in the US and here in Canada. Make sure and visit Karen White’s website here too.