The Things That Keep Us Here

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Everything seems quiet on Ann Brooks’s suburban cul-de-sac. Despite her impending divorce, she’s created a happy home and her daughters are adjusting to the change. She feels lucky to be in a supportive community and confident that she can handle any other hardship that life may throw her way. But then, right before Thanksgiving, a crisis strikes that turns everybody’s world upside down. Suddenly her estranged husband is forced back onto her doorstep, bringing with him his beautiful graduate assistant. Trapped inside the house she once called home, confronted by challenges she never could have imagined, Ann must make life-or-death decisions in an environment where the simple act of opening a door to a neighbor could jeopardize all she holds dear. The choices she makes will impact the lives of those around her irrevocably and linger in the reader’s memory in this marvelous first novel, written with authority, grace, and wisdom.

4 stars ****

This book sucked me inside of it and didn’t let go. Carla Buckley presented me with a world that went places I wasn’t expecting at all and it was both emotional and realistic. In all honesty I picked this book up on sale without reading any reviews, nothing but the synopsis on the back. I thought torrid love affair, maybe a sick or dying child. This book ended up being so many things that were above and beyond better than that. Part of me is telling you to walk away from my review right now enjoy this book and the surprises it will bring you. If you must read on do so but don’t think you won’t enjoy this novel because of its subject matter, buy it anyway. If I could make everyone I know read this I would.

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The Things That Keep Us Here was suspenseful and scary. I was riveted by the potentially real possibility of a flu epidemic. Ann’s soon to be ex-husband discovers one of the first cases of bird flu in the USA just before it jumps species into humans. School, and all non emergency work is canceled, there is the real fear that the next person you touch could pass you a pandemic that hasn’t been seen in this world since 1918. There is more though, suddenly Ann is forced to live not just with her two daughters but also her ex and his beautiful assistant. Emotions reel and tensions build high as everyone must stay basically trapped inside to avoid others.

How much risk is to much? When do you draw a line between your safety and that of the your friends? The Things That Keep Us Here covers all of that and kept me engrossed until the last sentence. I felt that the characters were realistic and the images I got from the writing allowed me to struggle with Ann and her family.

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