Amanda Eyre Ward is a new to me author, but Close Your Eyes is her fifth novel. The book opens in 1986. A brother and sister have their idyllic childhood shattered when their mother is murdered....and their father is accused and subsequently convicted of the crime.
It is twenty four years later. The siblings have 'coped' with their loss in different ways. Alex is on his way to Iraq with Doctors Without Borders. Lauren sells real estate and refuses to marry her live in boyfriend - she can't commit to marriage. She is distraught when Alex announces his trip. He is her lifeline and has always looked after her - she can't lose the only family she has left. But leave he does.
The second part of the book introduces us to Sylvia whose life has been unalterably changed by the events in her life. A life seemingly quite different from Lauren's, but both women have carried the burden of loss the entire lives. Loss on many different levels.
And this is where Ward shines. Her exploration of the themes of love, loss, family, self and redemption are examined through the eyes of the two main protagonists. While both have closed their eyes to what has happened in their lives, their interaction allows each other to slowly reclaim their own lives, open their eyes and go forward.
Murder is the minor player but the major catalyst in this novel. the characters and their lives are the driving force behind this story. Although I had an inkling where things might go, Ward surprised me many times. Lauren and Sylvia are well drawn characters, but so is the secondary cast. Gerry, Lauren's boyfriend stood out for me.
This was a different read for me, but one I quite enjoyed. It was a thought provoking exploration of how a random, unplanned act can affect so much and so many.
Read an excerpt of Close Your Eyes.
You can find Amanda Eyre Ward on Facebook and on Twitter.
Thanks to the generous folks at Random House, I have a copy of Close Your Eyes to giveaway to one lucky reader. Simply leave a comment to be entered. Open to US and Canada. Ends Sat. Aug 13/11.
Check out what other bloggers on the TLC tour thought of Close Your Eyes.