The Arrivals is Meg Mitchell Moore's debut novel.
Ginny and William Owens are happily retired. They've raised three children and are now enjoying puttering, gardening, time with each other and....the quiet.
"In the moment, you were often too tired to enjoy watching your children turn into people. It was such a busy time, so demanding. There was always somebody with a science project due the next day, always a lesson or a practice to get to, always a meal to cook or a stray mitten to find. And then suddenly everyone had cleared out, flung themselves out into the big world, two of them to New York City, Lillian to Massachusetts, calling, sure, e-mailing often, even visiting, but they were gone, truly gone, replaced by the silence - beautiful and blessed, of course, but still, sometimes, she had to admit, strange and unnatural."
And that quiet lasts until their daughter Lillian arrives with her 3 year old and newborn. Her marriage is in trouble and home is the first place she heads. Son Stephen comes to visit with his pregnant wife Jane. The house is getting a little fuller and a lot noisier.....and finally, the youngest, Rachel, arrives home as well. Single life in New York City has taken it toll and she too heads home to recharge her batteries.
Moore has perfectly captured the emotions, tensions, love, headaches and joy of a family reunited under one roof as adults. (with a few additions) Moore's characters are all incredibly well portrayed. I found myself reacting strongly to a number of them. And that's the mark of a good writer - when you respond to fictional characters and are drawn into their world. While The Arrivals is the tale of the Owens family, the focus is on mothers and mothers-to-be at varying stages of their lives. With the empty nest looming in my near future, I enjoyed Moore's exploration of family dynamics.
"While they talked, Ginny looked out at the lake and let her thoughts float and settle, trying to put her finger on what it was she was feeling, where this sense of peace and fulfillment was coming from. And while she couldn't articulate it exactly, she thought that probably the presence of all of the people in her house - all these different creatures, with their hungers and their desires and their moods and their love - was allowing her to feel necessary, to feel loved and embraced again, in a way that she hadn't realized she'd stopped feeling. Hadn't realized she'd been missing."
The Arrivals marks the arrival of a strong new voice in women's fiction - I look forward to future offerings from Meg Mitchell Moore. Book clubs would enjoy the varying themes presented in this novel - a reading group guide is available.
You can find Meg on Twitter and Facebook.
And thanks to the generosity of The Hachette Book Group, I have two copies of The Arrivals to giveaway. Simply comment to be entered. Open to US and Canada, no PO boxes please. One winner per household. Ends Sat. June 18th at 6 pm EST. Good luck and check the sidebar for ongoing giveaways.