By Susan Strecker
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Publication Date: 10/7/2014
Format: Other Format
My Rating: 4 Stars
One October night, when Jensen Reilly is sixteen, she and her high school sweetheart, Ryder, are involved in a horrible accident that kills her brother, Will.
Ever since then Jensen has been running—from her past, from the Connecticut shoreline home she loved, to boarding school and then out west, where she dropped out of college to elope with her professor, a charismatic artist who takes her further from the unbearable secret that weighs her down.
But when Jensen's lovable father, Sterling, is diagnosed with a brain tumor, she returns to her childhood home for her first extended visit in thirteen years, and the memories of her old life come flooding back—as do the people she's tried to escape. Torn between the life she's created in Sante Fe with her free-spirited husband, Nic, and the realization that it is time to face her past, Jensen must make a terrifying decision that threatens to change her life forever.
Set against the steamy background of a New England summer and filled with the intensity of first love, Night Blindness is about risk and redemption, the sanctity of unbreakable friendships, and the ways we are hunted down by what we try to escape. Told with heart and humor and the sort of plot destined to keep readers turning pages late at night, this remarkable debut marks the start of a talented career for Susan Strecker.
A special thanks to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
NIGHT BLINDNESS by Susan Strecker, an engrossing debut novel of long buried secrets, love, risk, forgiveness, and redemption, set in the beautiful area of New England, where things are not always as they seem.
Jensen Reilly is sixteen years old and she and her high school sweetheart, Ryder are involved in an accident which kills Will, Jensen’s brother and Ryan’s best friend. Will did not want Ryder and Jensen to date, so they had to hide their relationship.
Jensen suffers from dreams and night blindness. It came on suddenly after Ryder’s funeral, a dull blurriness, as though swimming through water; the outlines of trees and houses appeared ethereal, dreamlike. Eventually her parents take her to a pediatric ophthalmologist and was diagnosed with nyctalopia, night blindness.
Jen and Ryder share a secret that changes the course of their lives, with consequences--turning Ryder into a neurologist, as Jen turns away from away from academics and Julliard to work as an artist’s model. She later marries Nico, a famous sculptor, they live a bohemian life in Santa Fe—she has carefully stayed away from her family, for over thirteen years.
For years to come, Jen and Ryder lead separate lives, still guilt ridden, and choosing not to be honest with the family regarding the events leading up to the favorite football star son’s death.
But when Jensen's beloved father, Sterling Reilly, former NFL hero, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor, she returns to her childhood home and the memories of her old life come flooding back, along with all the people she has tried to escape.
Torn between the life she has created in Sante Fe with her free-spirited husband, Nic, and the realization that it is time to face her past, Jensen must make a terrifying decision that threatens to change her life forever. She knows she will not be free until she comes clean.
Jensen struggles to deal with her father’s illness, she also has to confront her feelings for Ryder and guilt over Will. While in the process of unburdening her guilt, she later uncovers information which if know earlier, her life as well as Ryder’s may have been different. Is it too late for this couple or is there still time to make their dreams come true without guilt--with no one standing in their way?
As family bonds are tested, they find the answers they need to overcome tragedy, in order to begin their future. A beautifully written and emotionally charged debut novel told from Jensen’s POV, of family dynamics, friendships, first loves, secrets, loss, renewal, and the power of truth and love. An engaging and satisfying read. Look forward to reading more from Susan!
By: Susan Strecker
Publisher: St Martin's Press
Publication Date: 3/1/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars