Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Book Review: Ashes to Water

Media Type: Print Book
Title: Ashes to Water
Author: Irene Ziegler
Publisher: Five Star
Pages: Hardcover; 394
Release Date: June 16, 2010
Source: Crazy Book Tours
Intended Reading Group: Adult
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
HDB Rating: 5 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers looking for something different and action packed.

Add it on: Goodreads / Shelfari / Amazon / B&N
When Annie Bartlett returns home to bury her murdered father, she confronts the woman arrested for the crime, only to discover reasons to fight for the woman’s acquittal. This pits her against her erratic and unwell sister, Leigh, whose very survival may depend on a guilty verdict.

Annie soon becomes snarled in the social and political dynamics of the town, a wrenching attraction to her old boy- friend, and the emotionally difficult business of sorting out her estranged father’s tangled past. Obstructing Annie further are “visits” from her mother, who drowned in Widow Lake when Annie was nine. As her attempts to solve her father’s murder lead to more bloodshed, Annie finds herself a suspect in a plot not of her making, and a threat to the town’s movers and shakers, suddenly very anxious to see her gone. When Annie’s father is finally laid to rest in the lake that claimed her mother, Annie glimpses in his sinking ashes the flashing glints of hope and healing.

In a world that is completely filled with books, piled up in multiple warehouses and waiting for a home, it is difficult for an author like Irene Ziegler to shine. As I am sure you all know by now, I am a huge fan of uncovering those hidden shining gems and sharing them with you! Ashes to Water is without a doubt my favorite hidden gem this year. If the following review happens to make no sense and ends up entirely filled with ramblings, it is only because I still cannot seem to wrap my mind around how much I fell in love with this book. Let us begin shall we?

One of my absolute favorite parts about reading adult literature is being able to connect with the characters on a much deeper level. As much as I adore Young Adult books, I am past the point in which I resonate with those characters in my current life. They can remind me of what I once was, but only adult characters can actually show me who I may or may not want to be. Does that make sense? I hope so.

That being said, Annie is such a fantastic protagonist in this story. Her life as a whole is laid out in this story, and Irene has no qualms with sharing the less than favorable parts about who Annie is. As a character with understandable flaws, she was so easy for me to connect with and I fell in love with her instantly. From the first page I was completely invested in who she was and what she wanted to be. Sweet Annie, a photographer who loves her mother and cannot seem to let her go. Flawed Annie, who needs love and reassurance and is not always sure where to go to find it. I adored her! She made the book for me, and sticks with me even after finishing it. If she were a real person, I do believe she and I would get along quite well.

On the flip side we have Annie's sister Leigh. The yin to Annie's yang, Leigh projects herself as a self assured and confident female figure. Only when you read on do you begin to see the cracks in her shiny exterior, and as the story progresses they just grow more and more defined. Leigh definitely makes her fair share of bad decisions throughout the story. However she is written so that it is hard not to feel for her as a person. She knows the decisions that she makes aren't always the most intelligent, but she only stops to ponder them after they have been made. Leigh knows she needs help. That alone makes her favorable in my eyes.

Lest I make this book sound like some self help book, I must add that on top of all of the inner dialogue is a beautiful and well paced story line. Irene shines in her ability to write a story that will keep you guessing! There is both an arsonist and a murderer on the loose, and it has turned Annie's small hometown completely upside down. People begin to suspect one another, and no one is sure that they actually "know" one another anymore. One part mystery, one part introspective story, this is an exquisite book that will stay with me for a long time. Page turner is an understatement. 

If you haven't decided that you must read it by now, I will leave you with this. There is a twist. Yes, a delicious twist at the end that will make your mouth gape open and possibly leave you wanting to applaud. I need a copy of both this book and the prequel. Stat.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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