The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

The Weight of BloodReviewed by Gina Metz

The Weight of Blood is set in Henbane, Missouri deep in the heart of the Ozarks. The story begins with Lucy Dane a seventeen year old born and raised in Henbane. Her friend from down the road, Cheri Stoddard, has been missing for a year and her body has just been found in pieces jammed into an old hollow tree. Lucy feels guilty that she was not a better friend to Cheri and that she did not try harder to find her or help her when she went missing. The papers labeled her as “deficient” or “developmentally disabled”. Kids at school had called her a lot worse things. Lucy had outgrown her and hadn’t spent much time with her in later years.

Lucy’s Mother, Lila Dane, had come to Henbane not quite a year before Lucy was born. Lila Dane was from a small town in Iowa and orphaned at twelve. After struggling through foster care, at eighteen she signs a contract to work for two years in Henbane to try to save money to continue her education. Henbane does not welcome or accept outsiders easily. Lila is a beautiful woman and soon rumors are going around the town that she is a witch. Things do not work out as Lila planned and she disappears when Lucy is only a year old. It is believed that she committed suicide since all she took with her when she left was a gun but her body is never recovered.

The story shifts between Lucy, Lila and her friends and family as Lucy tries to discover what happened to Cheri and her Mother. The Weight of Blood is a fast paced read that reveals the seedier side of life in a small town in a beautiful area. Nothing is as it appears on the surface. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to other books by Laura McHugh.

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