Monday 10 December 2012

Book ~ "Leaves" (2012) Michael Baron

From Goodreads ~ Welcome to Oldham, CT, a small town rich in Colonial heritage while being utterly contemporary. Situated along the Connecticut River Valley, Oldham bursts with color every fall, as the leaves on its trees evolve into an unmatched palette of scarlet, orange, purple, yellow, and bronze. For more than three decades, the Gold family has been a central part of Oldham in the fall, its Sugar Maple Inn a destination for "leaf-peepers" from all over the country, and its annual Halloween party a stirring way to punctuate the town’s most active month.

But this year, more than just the leaves are changing. With the death of their parents, the Gold siblings, Maria, Maxwell, Deborah, Corrina, and Tyler, have decided to sell the Sugar Maple Inn, and this year’s Halloween party will be the last. As October begins, the Golds contend with the finality that faces them, and the implications it has for a family that has always been so close. For some, it means embracing new challenges and new love. For others, it means taking on unimagined roles. And for others, it means considering the inconceivable. Complicating it all is a series of "hauntings" that touch each of the Gold siblings, a series of benign interventions that will remain a mystery until October draws to a close.

Filled with romance, tension, and unforgettable family drama, Leaves is the first in a series of novels about a world and a family that readers will want to make their own.

This is the first book by this author that I've read and I really enjoyed it.

After their mother dies in the summer (their father died a couple years earlier), the Gold brothers and sisters decide to sell the inn in a small town their parents had started many years ago.  A chain has bought it and will take over right after Halloween.  It had been their parents' tradition to throw a Halloween party for the locals and this will be the last one.

We meet the Golds about a month before the party:
  • Maria is married to Doug.  Their daughter, Olivia, has just left for college.  While Doug is embracing being an emptynester, Maria must find something to fill her time and returns to her love of music.
  • Maxwell is married to Annie and they have a two-year-old son, Joey.  While Maxwell is considering running for mayor of their small town, it's obvious to him that Annie is unhappy but she won't talk about it.
  • Deborah has been the chef at the inn (it was her one and only job) and now must figure out what she wants to do with her life.  She meets and falls in love with Sage and he helps her make some decisions.
  • Corrina is married to Gardner, a busy lawyer, and stepmother to his 16-year-old son, Ryan, who is not a happy teenager.
  • Tyler is a nature photographer who is still heartbroken because Patrice broke up with him last year.  Things became better for him when he and Patrice find each other again.

As it gets closer to the night of the party, strange things happen to each of them, reminding them of good times as a family in the past.  But will this be enough to keep them together once the inn is sold?

I liked the writing style and it kept me wanting to read more.  The chapter headings are dates along with a countdown to the date of party.

I liked most of the characters.  I found them to be believable.  I didn't like Corrina, though.  I know she had a lot going on with a workaholic husband and a 16-year-old stepson who she had no parental say over but I found her too nasty and bossy.  She needed to chill a bit.

The ending leaves you wanting more ... there will be a sequel to this book and I look forward to checking it out and see what happens to the Golds.


Karielle Stephanie said...

You didn't like Corinna?? I felt she tried really hard to be an attentive stepmom, so I thought she seemed nice. I sympathized with her at the end, too. Tyler was the one I had problems with. His situation is heartbreaking but he seems like a jerk at times.

I guess that's the power of Leaves: everyone is affected differently by each of the characters. I enjoyed this book as well, and wonderful review!

Michael Baron said...

Thanks for the thoughtful review. I know Corinna rubs some people the wrong way while others sympathize with what she's going through. That's exactly as I had intended it, so I'm glad it's starting a bit of a debate.

Thanks again.


Teena in Toronto said...

That's the beauty of different characters in a book ... people either relate to them or they don't. I know Corinna was trying to make things good for her stepson (which I liked) but I thought she was too nasty with her brother. I liked Tyler and was hoping things would turn out for him.

Gigi Ann said...

I'm looking forward to seeing where Tyler's life in the art world leads him.

Very nice review. I like the way you posted about each family member, it helps to keep each of them straight.

Krafty Beginnings said...

Great review. I agree about Corrina, but can sympathise with her at time. Leaves is a fantastic book and great intro to the series. I can't wait for book 2. Thanks for stopping by my tour stop.

Katie @ Turner’s Antics