This review is The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis. One of my favorite ways to rest is by curling up with a good book. Like movies and music, all genres appeal to me, and I give all books a chance to be ‘heard’!
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The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis
After snagging a copy of The Barrowfields by Phillip Lewis at a book sale last year, I finally got around to reading it earlier this month. Intrigued by the jacket’s book summary, I was eager to dive into the mountains of North Carolina and into the lives of a lonely family fighting to stay together.
Like his father and father’s father, Henry was born in Old Buckram which is a small town situated in the mountains of North Carolina during a simpler time of slower living. Living in an isolated and uniquely styled home structure of iron and glass, their small family consists of Henry’s father, mother, and younger sister – Threnody.
Henry is mystified by his father, also named Henry, growing up. Unlike the rest of the town and his family, the elder Henry was drawn to books and a bigger life than his small hometown could provide. So he goes off to college, becomes a lawyer, falls in love, marries, and then is forced to return home after receiving news of his mother’s failing health.
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Being back in Old Buckram is the last thing he wanted to do. He struggles with going back home but makes the most of it for his new bride and their baby. They buy the strange iron home in the mountain and raise their family while he works in town as a lawyer.
However, elder Henry becomes disconnected from the family over time. Always longing to be a writer, he works relentlessly into the nights on what he hopes to be the next great American novel. He drinks a lot, has odd isolating behavior, plays the piano all hours of the night, and reads just as much as he writes which is always.
The younger Henry wants desperately to be close to his father in order to better understand him. He knows his father is an intelligent man and longs to know all he is thinking, reading, and writing. In an attempt to forge some kind of relationship with him, he takes to sitting beside his father’s desk each night to read while his father writes.
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Then, one day, his father disappears. No one knows why and can only speculate. Each day they wait for his return and try to carry on with their lives. Young Henry has so many questions that go unanswered and, as he gets older, wants out of Old Buckram just as his father before him to get away from his past and the pain it holds for him.
And, just as his father did, Henry leaves to attend college out of state. There he meets a girl named Story who is from the Lowcountry of South Carolina. She also has a damaged past and wanted to get away from home just as Henry did. Together they return to their hometowns to face their pasts in order to live their present and future.
Slowly, as he spends the summer in the iron home, he faces his past and the negativity he feels towards his father. Young Henry must confront the feelings of his father’s disappearance, mend the damage he did to Threnody when he left home and never contacted her, and figure out how to move forward with his life. It’s the hardest thing he’ll ever have to do.
I enjoyed Phillip Lewis’s writing style and the story of this odd family living in the mountains. Henry’s girlfriend, Story, also has an intriguing past and adds to the overall dynamic of the story but in a way that intertwines with Henry’s story. While I was disappointed (and shocked) to learn the truth of the elder Henry’s disappearance, I was let down by the novel’s ending. I was hoping for more as the novel gives so much throughout the book up to the end. I gave this book three out of five stars.
Phillip Lewis Interview
Book of the Month Club
I enjoyed books so much that I joined the Book of the Month Club to continue receiving the latest and greatest books via mail. Some of the books are exclusive to BOTM club members a month prior to their official publishing date! Each month I’m excited about the monthly selections, and it’s tough to select just one. (And when I can’t decide on one, I can add additional books for a small add-on charge and – as always – shipping is included in the monthly membership fee.) Can’t find one you want? That’s okay, too! Skip a month, pocket the credit to spend next month, and you won’t be charged for that current month.
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Book Ratings and Reviews
Each book I review is based on my opinion. This does not mean you will agree with the review or love/like/dislike the book, too. There’s a quote that says, “No two persons ever read the same book” by Edmund Wilson, and it’s quite true!
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