What Burns Away
Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Landmark
Publication Date: 01/06/2015
Rating: 4 Stars
Good wife, good mother. That's all Claire Spruce is trying to be, but the never-ending snow in this new town and her workaholic husband are making her crazy. Even the sweet face of her toddler son can't pull her out of the dark places in her head.
Feeling overwhelmed and alone, she reconnects with her long-lost high school boyfriend, Dean, who offers an intoxicating, reckless escape. But Dean's reappearance is not a coincidence. He wants something from Claire-and she soon finds that the cost of repaying an old favor may lead to the destruction of her entire life.
What Burns Away is a story of loyalty, family, and the consequences of the past's inevitable collision with our future.
A special thank you to SOURCEBOOKS Landmark and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
What Burns Away by Melissa Falcon Field is a powerful debut of a middle aged mother; a woman who has lost herself, and the temptation of the past; excitement, a risk –a captivating and intense page-turner of loyalty, forgiveness and atonement.
Claire Spruce, a mother and wife– she is lonely and feels isolated. Miles, the physician husband provides for his family. He is caught up in his career and Claire does not fit in.
A past, an old flame resurfaces, social media connection, a father’s infidelity, a mother-daughter relationship, marriage, children, motherhood, expectations, careers, anger, resentment, a life without fire, ambition, affection, attachment, isolation, love, the past, the present, the future –what will Claire choose?
Told in the present day with flashbacks to Claire’s teen years, highlighting her time with Dean and her parents. An emotional novel of choices, second chances, secrets, a fairy tale marriage destroyed and a woman who does not see or appreciate what is in front of her.
Melissa Falcon Field delivers a second coming of age novel, as many readers will connect, as we look back on our life for “an awakening”, as we redefine ourselves both personally and professionally as we move forward.
What Burns Away dives into a woman’s mind for a suspenseful novel of love and betrayal; the power of the past, for readers young and old. We all experience change as we grow older, as materialistic things which were important to us in the past, have been replaced with more simplistic things, where you learn to live on less without all the baggage. Time is more important.
Unfortunately as the author mentions, we cannot stop aging – it is a fact of life; however, rather than focus on outside appearances, we have to capture our inner self. This is especially difficult for women, emotionally sometimes; and the author depicts the struggle of past and present, as Claire redefines herself.
The social media presence in the novel is very realistic as couples get bored with their lives and the fantasy of what would have been, and old flames sometimes surface. (the grass is not always greener). Many women will relate to parts of Claire’s character— actions have consequences.
Fans of literary fiction, women's fiction, and family drama will enjoy this well-written suspense debut novel. The novel would make an ideal selection for book clubs or discussions regarding the different perspectives of characters, and what ifs.