The Children by Ann Leary took a bit for me to get into. I was unsure if I liked the story for the first third as the narrator was doling out very small pieces of a large puzzle that I was not aware of. As the pieces began to fall into place, I was intrigued then I was invested then I was involved. The tale of a blended family told by the introverted Charlotte, a 29 year old who still lives at the home she rarely leaves and writes a “mommy blog” despite not being a mother. Charlotte tells us the history of the family, her mother and sister, step-father and two step-brothers, and how everything changed when Whit, the step-dad passed. As the lives of the children begin to intersect in very interesting ways the addition of a mysterious woman amps up the drama.
I really ended up liking the plot of The Children. It contained drama, twists and humor in a way that had me engrossed by the end. The writing of Ann Leary was fantastic. She was able to weave a complex tale of family drama, love and humor in a unique way. I did have some issues with the pacing as it would switch to flashbacks suddenly and it would take me a bit to figure out when we were. The world built was very well done. Set in essentially one location, I could picture the rooms as the players moved through them. The emotions were there, but they were more of an underlying feature. Charlotte was introspective and as we saw the story unfold through her eyes we felt her emotions as well. The characters were a high point. All were nuanced and fit perfectly within the scope of the tale.
The Children was a read that I did not expect. It was a fantastic blend of drama, humor and family that all worked very well together. Once I could see the outline of the puzzle, I enjoyed seeing each piece put into place. There was only one character who did not get the comeuppance I wanted, but that actually tied into the storytelling well. Ann Leary was able to weave a delicate tale that I thoroughly enjoyed.
I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.