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August 16, 2019

The Accidentals by Minrose Gwin ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

Adjective:  Happening by chance or unexpectedly.
Noun:  A bird found outside its normal geographic range, migration pattern or season: vagrant

Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

August 2019; William Morrow; 978-0062471758
audio, ebook, print (416 pages); women's fiction
The Accidentals is a beautifully written novel about a family in the South from the 1950s to present day.  It's full of love, betrayal, redemption, and forgiveness within this family over the years. It is about history as disparate as the space race, the atomic bomb, women's reproductive rights, civil rights, women's rights, and animal cruelty ... sounds like a lot of ground to cover but it all fits well into the storylines. This is my first book by this author but because of the beautiful writing in this book, I intend to check out some of her earlier books.

The novel begins in 1957 in Mississippi when Olivia, the mom, dies of a botched back woods abortion. Left behind are her daughters Grace 12 and June 10 and their dad Holly. Olivia had a hard time after WWII and doesn't have any friends to talk to. She spends her time watching the birds in the yard and considers herself to be an accidental - a bird outside its normal area.

Left behind are her daughters Grace 12 and June 10 and their dad Holly. After she dies, the three remaining members of the family cope in different ways -- Holly starts to build a fall out shelter in the back yard and prepare the basement for a tornado. He pretty much ignores his daughters and they learn to cope for themselves. Their aunt comes to spend time with them but when that doesn't work out because she develops feelings for Holly, she returns to her home. The family seems to be almost back to normal until Grace has a love affair and is sent away to have her baby. June is the one who told their Dad that Grace was pregnant and after the baby was born, Grace disappeared and stayed estranged from her sister. They try several times over the years to re-establish the love that they had for each other as children but there is always something that causes their closeness to stay as only a memory. As the years go by, their lives intersect in ways that reflect the unpredictable nature of bird flight that lands in accidental locations—and the consolations of imperfect return.

This is a beautiful well-written novel with two very strong female characters who are terribly flawed by what happened to their mother but try to live their lives as normally as possible during time periods that didn't give women much freedom about how to live their lives to their full potential.

This book is told by several voices over many years. At first, it was difficult to follow the different characters but it gets easier as the book progresses. The overall theme of love and forgiveness and the two strong female characters make this a fantastic book to read.

Buy The Accidentals at Amazon

About the Author

Minrose Gwin is the author of three novels: The Queen of Palmyra, a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers pick and a finalist for the John Gardner Fiction Book Award; Promise; and The Accidentals. Wishing for Snow, her 2004 memoir about the convergence of poetry and psychosis in her mother’s life, was reissued by Harper Perennial in 2011.  Minrose began her career as a newspaper reporter. Since then, she has taught as a professor at universities across the country, most recently the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She currently lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling. She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends. She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on FacebookGoodreads, or Twitter

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  1. mississippi been there done that and will do it again. i love books that take place in a familiar location. everything else about the book sounds interesting too.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  2. I love, love, love this cover! This one is hot with a couple of local book clubs and I can see why- it sounds intriguing! Thank you for being on this tour. Sara @ TLC Book Tours