A Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthy

September 29, 2015 Whitney Review 0 Comments

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.

A Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthyA Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthy
Published by Bantam on September 29, 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Source: Netgalley

For 13 days in October 1962, the world held its breath—seemingly on the brink of nuclear war. Set against the backdrop of Cold War panic and politics, this enthralling novel tells the intimate and human story of a family whose own hearts are at war.

For the Avery family, the dark days of the Cuban Missile Crisis mark a turning point in their lives which will shape and forever change them. McCarthy captures pitch-perfectly the panic, tension, insanity and innocence of the time. The Avery family forms the emotional center of the novel, as their world starts to unravel during the heart-stopping buildup to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

First Impressions

A Place We Knew Well by Susan Carol McCarthy has two stories. The first, is the Cuban Missile Crisis and the second is a story of paternity. Both subplots could have been a novel all their own. They kept me reading on to the next chapter. It was a heart-pounding plot and the frightening time in history was reflected on
every page.

Impressions While Reading

Truthfully, I am a bit ignorant on the Cuban Missile Crisis, I’ll blame my history teacher. Although, even without knowledge of that period in time Susan Carol McCarthy creates a vivid image. The need for gas, evacuation and bomb shelters the fearfulness created by the event is reflected on every page.

As for the paternity, this is the Avery’s personal drama. It plays out before our eyes and was like a train wreck. I felt as if I should avert my eyes to the fertility in the family. Although like in As the World Turns it was too juicy. It brought a dramatic soap box to an already dramatic story.

Impressions on the Characters

Weswas my favorite character. He was the glue that held the family and the novel together. Just going through his everyday routine was a pleasure as the author was meticulous about every detail and learned the most through his eyes. Wes was likable, and the heart and soul of the story.

Charlotte was our reality check with her innocence being chipped away at a rapid speed. Despite her world crashing down in more ways than one she stayed somewhat wholesome but liked seeing her come into her own.

I really did not like Sarah at all and had a hard time sympathizing with her. I realize she was having a breakdown but from the beginning, she was judgemental and a bit too prissy for my taste. I was rubbed the wrong way.

Surprisingly, I preferred her sister Kitty, she was a character that had more meat on her bones and a story to tell. She brought scandal to the story and flavor to divert our attention in a way a school dance never could.

Final Impressions

I did feel like the novel ended abruptly, almost as if a chapter was missing or a phone call was
disconnected. Just as we are learning of Sarah’s improvement Porky the Pig enters with “That’s All Folks!” I just wanted more. Overall, it was a great read with A Place We Knew Well holding my complete attention.



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