Blending the past with the present, The Same Country is an accomplished and emotive debut novel from Cardiff-based author Carole Burns. Journalist and former New England resident Cassie has moved back to her hometown following a recent breakup and instantly reconnects with her old friends, Jess and Aggie.
Yet the death of Cassie’s friend Joe at Aggie’s house, 20 years ago, presents a bleak homecoming, and as another local shooting reignites racial tension and rekindles memories, these become a catalyst for a chain of events that exposes secrets from the past.
The difficult trajectory of dealing with grief and loss following the violence is explored – particularly the vulnerability of families, the effects on society and the different ways of coping and adapting to life after loss. Despite the sadness displayed in the main thread of the story, there are sparks of joy and hope highlighted by the strong characterisations and relationships.
Burns’ journalistic background feels apparent from the inquisitive nature of The Same Country’s plot, adding to the suspense and suspicion that arises throughout. A thought-provoking, powerful and timely novel.
The Same Country, Carole Burns (Legend)
Price: £9.99. Info: here
words RHIANON HOLLEY