By: Karen White
Publisher: Penguin Group
Publication Date: 5/31/2016
My Rating: 5 Stars +
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The New York Times bestselling author of The Sound of Glass and coauthor of The Forgotten Room tells the story of a woman coming home to the family she left behind—and to the woman she always wanted to be...
Georgia Chambers has spent her life sifting through other people’s pasts while trying to forget her own. But then her work as an expert of fine china—especially of Limoges—requires her to return to the one place she swore she’d never revisit...
It’s been thirteen years since Georgia left her family home on the coast of Florida, and nothing much has changed, except that there are fewer oysters and more tourists. She finds solace seeing her grandfather still toiling away in the apiary where she spent much of her childhood, but encountering her estranged mother and sister leaves her rattled.
Seeing them after all this time makes Georgia realize that something has been missing—and unless she finds a way to heal these rifts, she will forever be living vicariously through other people’s remnants. To embrace her own life—mistakes and all—she will have to find the courage to confront the ghosts of her past and the secrets she was forced to keep...
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Southern storyteller, Karen White returns following The Sound of Glass, with her best yet!
As mentioned in my last KW review: No one can tell it better than the "southern queen"--buried secrets, history, and mysterious attics. When all the secrets come to the surface,someone is "bound" to learn something, and be a better person for them.
A complex, multi-layered, and moving family tale FLIGHT PATTERNS is set in rural Apalachicola, Florida. With intriguing dual timelines, a domestic historical suspense of mystery, powerful memories, dark family secrets and regrets. A top 2016 Southern women's historical fiction.
Fabulous front cover! Colorful and adorable hive boxes. The bee, a flying miracle is also a wonderful power animal and spiritual metaphor —White so eloquently portrays. There is much depth and wisdom here. Can you ever go back home again?
Georgia, an expert of fine china, makes her living sifting through the old memories of other families. When a rare Limoges piece comes across her desk in New Orleans, she is forced to return to Florida, the one place she never wanted to return; she had made promises. Her family home. She needs to locate the soup cup and the valuable pattern.
From patterns of bees, humans, family, and fine china. Both bees and human are complex in so many ways. Each is related. Like a honey bee, she is returning home, once again. Leaving was easier than staying. She wasn't going home to dig up the past; however, she may find she does just that.
Georgia Chambers works as an expert in New Orleans, an antiquities dealer, for the Big Easy Auction Gallery. Collections. Valuables. She digs into other people’s pasts—she lives vicariously through other’s past fine delicate treasures. Everyone's past but her own. She escapes, she runs, however, now she may have to face the truth about her own past, her mother, and the past tied to hers and Maisy’s(her younger half-sister).
She swore she would never return to this place, or travel down this road again. She prefers to run away from unpleasantness. Maybe now she needs to stop running. Too many secrets. Maybe now it is time to face down the real truth about her mother—her family. The summer she left, her mother, Birdie, stopped talking after her grandfather found her in the attic. Maybe she found something and lost touch with reality.
Georgia has been approached by a client, James Graf, from New York. He is settling his grandmother’s estate and needs to identify a rare Limoges china pattern with bees. Georgia is shocked, having seen this pattern previously. She now is forced to return home, after an unpleasant phone call with her sister, who says they cannot locate it. James follows her (he has his own issues). Hard to tell her boss she has not been home in over ten years.
Maisy, a teacher-the younger half-sister and nine-year- old daughter, Becky (she also stutters when excited), still lives in the home town. She is always angry. An unhappy marriage, separated, and a miserable person. She still resents her sister, Georgia. They have a past. A tragedy. Not a good one.
Becky is excited about her aunt coming to visit, and Maisy is not so thrilled. So you have a mute mother, an ailing grandfather, a sister who hates her, a niece who adores her, and a client (the real estate developer) who is intriguing and handsome.
Upon return, her mother Birdie is still damaged (mute for ten years), with her mind locked away, and sings. Her grandfather, now 94- years old, is a successful beekeeper, and now getting older and has dementia. He also has secrets. Birdie an enigmatic, beautiful, and not particularly a motherly type. Something had changed her. Does Georgia have the key to unlock the silence and find the cup, plus mend her relationships? Sooner or later she has to find a place to land.
“Sometimes all we need to do to forgive our parents, is to understand their own childhoods.”
Pretend, protect, secrets, courage, forgiveness, sacrifices, a mother’s wounds are deep; Desperate measures of parents and grandparents. Secrets threaten their lives. However, in order to move on, they have to face them, head on.
Skillfully crafted, an intriguing blending of past and present, infused with treasures, family, fine china, a tea cup, the extraordinary life of bees, a beekeeper, a bee journal, hurts repressed, shattered lives, damage, honey, wisdom, voices from the past, and as always, the author’s own unique special trademark style: "Grit-lit" southern novel featuring a female protagonist, at a crossroads in her life.
White slowly unravels this decade old mystery, piece by piece, and along the journey you will be glued to the pages, mesmerized. James and his sister Caroline, and others from the past, add an intriguing twist to this family saga historical fictional mystery.
I pre-ordered the audiobook with three talented narrators:Susan Bennett, Amanda Leigh Cobb, and Melissa Hurst. Each voice was captivating, delivering an outstanding performance.
However, now find myself wanting to purchase the digital or print copy, since there are so many quotes and beautiful words I want to reference again and again. This is one of those valuable books, like a collector, you want to re-read again, to savor each word. Many life’s lessons and truths. Thought-provoking. I love books surrounding family secrets (currently trying to solve one of my own parents).
With stunning lyrical prose and beautiful metaphors, with an ongoing theme and reference of bees to human lives, and fascinating opening quotes leading into each chapter from "Ned Bloodworth's Beekeeper's Journal, (priceless) along with treasures and memories, connecting time periods and past secrets. Birdie's dark confused side was "spine-tingling."
A few of the many book quotes, I enjoyed:
“Sins and atonement-Lengths a person will go to in an attempt to make amends for a wrong which could never be completely made right.”
"In many Asian and Middle Eastern cultures, bees represent a human soul and their journey on earth. An emblem of rebirth, determination, and willpower. Due to fact that a bee’s body is too large in comparison to the size of its wings – they should not be able to fly."
“Gluing together of the broken parts to make a new whole. You will never change your life, until you learn to let go of the things that hurt you.”
“All adversity is temporary, unless we insist to clinging to it, with both fists.”
“Human lives are like broken china. Restored Souls: Cracks are proof of survival evident only to those close enough to see where patched.”
'The past can't be changed, but it can be accepted. Pull up your big girl pants and move on."
“Regrets are like porch swings. They keep you busy but do not get you anywhere.”
There is supposedly a quote from Albert Einstein: “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.” Although there is much debate as to whether he ever said this, truth is—the bee is a major contributor to our livelihood.
From this book and other famous literary fiction surrounding bees and humans, the bee is fascinating-symbolic of fertility, community, prosperity, diligence and work ethic. Some cultures view bees as messengers of the Gods. Finally, the bee’s message could be calling your attention to miracles. Remember the impracticality of the bee’s aerodynamics? Regardless, it is still able to fly.
A metaphor for anything you may be attempting that seems to difficult and impossible. Miracles are possible! With all the bees’ wonderful gifts and symbolism, the spiritual power of the humble bee is truly amazing. A guide for us.
FLIGHT PATTERNS, is worth all the buzz, and more-on so many levels. A rare charming gem! Do not miss this one.
May Top Reads
coming March 28, 2017
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About the Author
After playing hooky one day in the seventh grade to read Gone With the Wind, Karen White knew she wanted to be a writer—or become Scarlett O'Hara. In spite of these aspirations, Karen pursued a degree in business and graduated cum laude with a BS in Management from Tulane University.
Ten years later, after leaving the business world, she fulfilled her dream of becoming a writer and wrote her first book. In the Shadow of the Moon was published in August, 2000. Her books have since been nominated for numerous national contests including the SIBA (Southeastern Booksellers Alliance) Fiction Book of the Year, and has twice won the National Readers’ Choice Award.
Karen is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author and currently writes what she refers to as ‘grit lit’—Southern women’s fiction—and has also expanded her horizons into writing a mystery series set in Charleston, South Carolina. Her nineteenth novel, The Sound of Glass, was published in May 2015 by New American Library, a division of PenguinRandomHouse Publishing Group.
Karen hails from a long line of Southerners but spent most of her growing up years in London, England and is a graduate of the American School in London. When not writing, she spends her time reading, scrapbooking, playing piano, and avoiding cooking. She currently lives near Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and two children, and two spoiled Havanese dogs. Read More