The Qualities of Wood by Mary Vensel White is a beautifully written debut novel about secrets, both past secrets and present secrets, and how things that stay hidden contribute to the lives of the people who keep them hidden.
“The house brought them together, but secrets will tear them apart.
When Betty Gardiner dies, leaving behind an unkempt country home, her grandson and his young wife take a break from city life to prepare the house for sale. Nowell Gardiner leaves first to begin work on his second mystery novel. By the time his wife Vivian joins him, a real mystery has begun: a local girl has been found dead in the woods behind the house. Even after the death is ruled an accident, Vivian can’t forget the girl, can’t ignore the strange behaviour of her neighbours, or her husband. As Vivian attempts to put the house in order, all around her things begin to fall apart.
The Qualities of Wood is a novel about secrets. Family secrets. Community secrets. And secrets between lovers, past and present. And all of these secrets have their price.” – The Qualities of Wood
The Qualities of Wood is a very well written book by a new author that I will keep on my list of authors to watch for future books. This novel is not a fast-paced mystery or thriller, but it unravels at a slow and steady pace with characters reeling you in along the way. I like this about the story, although I can see how it might be a little too slow for some people.
The characters are all well-formed and memorable. The main characters of Vivian and Nowell are interesting, and their secrets make the book a very interesting read right up to the end. The extra characters, like the townspeople add to the intrigue of the story and makes you wonder more about the history of the town they moved to. The scenery descriptions are vivid and make you feel like you are seeing it the way the author envisioned it.
Overall, I really liked this novel. It is a great read that kept me interested in the story and the characters up to the end. I definitely recommend it!
* Thank you to the publisher of The Qualities of Wood, Harper Collins 360, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.