Tuesday, 7 July 2020
KIM E. WILSON - BIRD (2019)
Ellen Williams journeys to a place she’s never been, hoping to find answers. Why did a deceased stranger leave her a multi-million dollar estate? She has inherited the Caldwell Estate, a Georgia property so breathtakingly beautiful that a gift of this magnitude is beyond her understanding. This fortuitous event has come at a time when Ellen is struggling with her own direction in life; getting out of Louisville for a while is just what she needs. Mrs. Caldwell was a mystery to many who knew her. With each step closer to untangling the mystery, painful childhood memories begin to emerge of her sister Jenny, a horrifying night in the past, and of Bird. Finding the truth has a price. Buy Bird now to solve the mystery. Do you really want to know the truth?
A bit of an amateur investigation going on as a discontented late middle aged married women inherits a valuable estate despite having no connection to her benefactor. Ellen Williams travels to Georgia to investigate her inheritance and take some me time, while her husband stays home, fretting about a possible cancer diagnosis and upcoming tests.
Hmm..... well straight away I can say I didn't particularly warm to our main character. Initial assessment..... selfish, self-obsessed, heartless and borderline cruel. By the end of the book, I had kind of mellowed a bit towards her, but no, not someone I would especially like in my circle of friends.
As for the mystery itself; there's obviously a reason for the benevolence, Ellen just needs to discover the why. The author serves up a dual timeline narrative as we revisit Ellen's youth and family history while in the present day, speaking to Mrs Caldwell's solicitor, extended family and community of friends in an effort to discover who the woman was and what the connection and rationale is for her generous act.
Family, sister, childhood, neighbours, Kennedy assassination and the aftermath, growing up, a rift, forgotten memories, new friends, discovery, connections, birds, loss, regret, comprehension and understanding.
I really liked the story with the flip flopping timelines. I was trying to second guess the connections throughout and found the answers when revealed to be well reasoned and convincing. There's a certain melancholy about how some close relationships get spoiled and a drift sets in and a separation occurs with each party becoming increasingly set in their ways, less tolerant, less patient and less forgiving. That said you need time to be able to reflect and consider how things turn out and whether things could be different, whereas most of us are just too busy getting on with the day to day.
I'm trying to think if I would have enjoyed the book more if I had more sympathy for Ellen as a character, and if I had tolerance and understanding of her initial motivations and on balance I probably wouldn't. We're all imperfect in many ways.
Decent story - intriguing mystery which I was keen to see solved. Enjoyable setting. Steady pace, insofar as we get where we're going exactly when we need to. And lastly not over-long.
4 from 5
Bird is author Kim E. Wilson's debut novel.
Read - June, 2020
Published - 2019
Page count - 245
Source - review copy from Quail Run Publicity
Format - PDF read on laptop