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The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh (Review #2)

The Weight of BloodReviewed by Teri Davis

“You grow up feeling the weight of blood, of family. There’s no forsaking kin. But you can’t help when kin forsakes you or when stranger has come to be family.”

Being a sixteen-year-old, Lucy Dane and wants a job. Currently she is working in her uncle’s store doing whatever job he assigns her. Something just doesn’t seem quite right to her though.

Added to that is the coincidence of Lucy’s mother disappearing years ago. Could her mother have been killed? As she is maturing, she is looking more like her mother and for many people in this small Ozark Mountain town, that is a problem. It seems like the more questions Lucy asks, there are no answers but just more questions as to what happened to Lila.

Lucy’s father, Carl spends much of his time working hard to keep a roof over their heads. He does not seem to trust his brother, Crete. Why?

Lucy is assigned the job of cleaning out an abandoned trailer owned by her uncle. In it she finds a necklace which belonged to Cheri, a mentally challenged close friend of her, who also disappeared. What does her uncle know about Cheri? Why did her uncle have the trailer removed and destroyed?Is he hiding something that he does not want her to know? Are there family secrets?

The Weight of Blood is a mystery with the reader wondering if the protagonist should solve the crime or to completely avoid the situation. Doing the right thing does not seem to always bring the right results.

As Lucy gets closer to the truth of the past, the reader walks the path along with her as each small discovery leads to a conclusion that she hopes is wrong.

“Now it ain’t my place to tell you what to think of your own family, but you’ve got to look past what you’ve always been taught and listen to what you know in your bones to be true.”

The characters are realistic in this gripping tale by Laura McHugh who builds her story on her own life growing up in small towns in Iowa and also living in the Ozark Mountain region of Missouri. As the story alternates from Lucy to Lila the perspectives are fascinating as people are viewed through the different lenses. The Weight of Blood is a haunting debut novel.

This is a story that I felt compelled to read after the first chapter but at the same time, fearful of what is unveiled on each page as the story progresses. As Lucy’s mother was called “bewitched”, The Weight of Blood is a bewitching tale of the cost of truth.

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