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Book Review – The Given Day by Dennis Lehane

Posted by mcm0704 on March 28, 2010 |


I’ll admit upfront that Dennis Lehane is one of my favorite authors, so any review by me is not going to be totally objective. But you have to admit that an author who can capture a moment is such sparse words as this, is a master at the craft.

She whispered his name. She whispered, “Luther.”

All the old pain entered her eyes, all the old grief and hurt at what he’d done to her, all the fears and worry.

Could she open her heart again? Could she put her faith in him?

Luther willed her to go the other way, sent a look across the grass freighted with all his love, all his resolve, all his heart.

She smiled.

Good Lord it was gorgeous.

She held out her hand.

This is from Lehane’s latest book, The Given Day, which is set in Boston at the end of the First World War. It is a sweeping narrative that captures the political and social unrest in the country at that time, and is filled with memorable characters. The Given Day tells the story of two families—one black, one white—whose lives are intertwined, yet separated because of social propriety.

In addition to the beauty of Lehane’s writing, I enjoy reading his books for the insight into human behavior and interaction. Like, Steinbeck, Lehane is a master at that. The people are so real, you feel like you have met new friends by the time you finish the book. And the dramatic moments, like the example, are so powerful, they don’t need a lot of embellishment.

Those who enjoy a book for the plot, intrigue, and pacing, won’t be disappointed in reading this book. It has it all.

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Disclaimer for the FTC: Dennis did not pay me, give me a free copy of the book, or coerce me into writing this review. I bought the book with my own $15.99 for the trade paperback. I will not sell the book, or my review, as I will keep both to read again.

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