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January 17, 2022

Geographies of the Heart by Caitlin Hamilton Summie ~ a Review

by Susan Roberts

"It's about where you came from, she thought.  It's about what you know.  And you either love that landscape you were born into or hate it and move elsewhere.  But it never leaves you, that first geography." (p 200)

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

Geographies of the Heart
January 2022; Fomite; 978-1953236395
ebook, print (314 pages); women's fiction

It isn't often that you can pick up a book and feel like you know the characters - that they are your family and you care deeply about them.  I was pulled into the lives of Sarah and Al from the first chapter and they never let me go.

Geographies of the Heart begins in 1994 when Sarah first met Al in college and continues until the present day with all of the ups and downs of a normal marriage.  It's told by Sarah, Al, and Glennie about their lives over the years. We get more of Sarah's story than we do Al's because she adds a lot about her life growing up.  She and her sister Glennie had been close when they grew up but in high school, they became almost strangers and Sarah had no idea why Glennie turned away from her and their family.  Sarah had to help take care of her grandparents and parents over the years and she began to resent how Glennie had turned her back on her family and refused to help.  Glennie became a doctor and used her studying and her busy schedule as her excuse for not helping Sarah with the family.  But no matter what happened with Sarah, she always had Al there, loving her and taking care of the family.  He helped the neighbors and made friends with them and was an all-around good guy.  He was compassionate and caring and loving no matter what crisis was going on.  When Sarah and Al had a daughter, he handled much of the child care.  As time passes, Sarah grows bitter about her sister and her lack of help and it begins to spill over into her marriage.  It isn't until a family crisis that Sarah and Glennie begin to talk to each other and try to pick up the pieces of their sister-to-sister relationship.
This book made me smile and it made me cry.   I knew these characters and understood the geographies of their hearts as they touched my heart.  This is one of a few books that I wish I could give more than five stars.  The writing is exquisite and the characters are very real. When I finished this book, I couldn't pick up another book for a few days.  Sarah and Al stayed in my heart and I wasn't ready to let them go.  This book will definitely go to my 'keepers' shelf where I keep the books that meant the most to me over the years.

This author has written well-reviewed short stories but this is her first novel.  I predict success for her in the future and can't wait to read what she writes next.

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina with her husband of over 50 years.  She grew up in Michigan but now calls North Carolina home. She enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. 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 historical fiction. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with Susan on Facebook.

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