Call the Canaries Home

- Laura Barrow

GOODREADS BLURB:

Three estranged sisters reconnect in their Louisiana hometown to face an unresolved past in a heartfelt novel about family, grief, secrets, and forgiveness.

Savannah was four years old when her twin sister, Georgia, went missing from their small Louisiana town, fracturing their family. Twenty-eight years later, Savannah convinces her estranged older sisters, Rayanne and Sue Ellen, to honor the pact they made as children and retrieve the time capsule they buried in their old backyard. But coming home means confronting old ghosts…and their stubborn grandmother, Meemaw.

Sifting through the artifacts, they come across a photograph taken on the day Georgia disappeared and spot a familiar woman lingering in the background. While Sue Ellen and Rayanne want to move on with their lives, Savannah is determined to find the woman—and perhaps a clue to the past.

When old tensions, rivalries, and memories resurface, the sisters must reconsider what they thought they knew about that fateful day, about each other, and about themselves. On their search to uncover what happened to Georgia, each of them will discover what Meemaw has known all along: family is everything.

GENRES:

FIRST WORDS:

I scraped clumsily at the stubborn, sleet-covered earth with Daddy's shovel. Apart from us, it was one of the few things he'd left behind, discarded against the old tin shed as if he had just stopped to take a break for a moment and would drift into view any second, hollering at us to let his things alone.

MY REVIEW:

meh, nothing special:
2.5/5

* Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an eARC of this book. The following review is my honest reflection on the text provided. *

I feel misled by the book synopsis for Call the Canaries Home. I went in expecting an amateur detective story: three sisters tackling the disappearance of their sister, a supposedly solved case with no body and no closure. Instead, Call the Canaries Home is a convoluted family drama where everyone keeps dying off and no one is happy.

I struggled to tell the sisters apart in my head. I don’t know if I was just disinterested or if there wasn’t enough in the writing to tell the perspectives apart, or if it just didn’t matter to the narrative, but until the very end, I was still waiting for identifying characteristics to tell which sister was which. Last time I checked, ‘has kids’, ‘lives on the east coast’ and ‘never left home’ were not their names.

For the first time since we'd lost Georgia, I sensed something tugging on the other end of the invisible thread that tethered the two of us together. It wasn't a feeling I could explain to Rayanne and Sue Ellen, but it was there just the same. My sister was not dead. Because as soon as I saw that photograph of the two of us, it was as if I heard a familiar voice calling out, as clear as if she'd been standing right next to me.

Come and find me, Savannah. It's time.

But most disappointing was the mystery. Occasionally, someone would mention the missing sister or the lack of evidence or closure, but it felt more like a reminder that ‘oh yeah, that’s what this book is supposed to be about’. There’s very little effort put into the mystery, even when suspicious and interesting facts are being discovered by accident.

Having said all that, Call the Canaries Home isn’t bad, just a little boring. There’s a lot of material here that could’ve been used to explore generational poverty and family dynamics. There are some allusions to food deserts, poor education and limited future prospects, but there’s no effort made to dig any deeper. I considered DNFing the entire time I was reading, but I kept hoping there might be a twist or things could get interesting. Unfortunately, that never happened.

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