Four out of five stars.
The truth about secrets is that they steal your joy, hold you hostage, and over time, build invisible walls that seem insurmountable. No one knows this better than Willa Muir. Moving past her past proved to be more difficult than she ever imagined; not so much because of what she remembers, but rather, what she does not. A proposal of marriage from the guy who was perfect for her, she finally had a chance to run headlong into her future. But with the holes that remained in her past, she was not whole enough to accept such an offer.
Fleeting visions and an entire year that was absent from her childhood memory propelled her to follow that void, no matter how dark the path may become. Angry at herself for running, she soon found that no one wanted her to uncover the mystery; perhaps more to protect her than themselves. Still, she had to know.
The Muir House paints a symbolic picture of a former funeral home, made over to become a Bed and Breakfast, in an ironic attempt to mask secrets of its own. A center point of the town of Rockwall, Texas, it is a common fiber in the lives of the people who call Rockwall home. But for Willa, the return to her home, her town, her past proves, at first, that this is the last place she belongs.
Mary Demuth writes with an uncommon transparency, facing troubling subjects head on. Such is the case with her character Willa Muir. Mature, questioning, broken, yet strong, independent, yet longing to belong.
I recommend this book simply to experience the unique story-telling ability of Demuth. I suspect that her fictional characters are based on complex people that have touched her life in one way or another, which is what makes them so real.
My only constructive comment regarding her characters is that I found some of them a bit distant and difficult to relate to, especially as they evolved from start to finish. But truth, once it is finally revealed, does change people, and Demuth dares to share those stories from all angles.
Demuth has become a master at sharing such stories. She holds nothing back, and healing is indeed a messy process, and a great story worth following.
Disclaimer: I was provided a copy of this book from Zondervan Publishers, but was not required to write a positive review in exchange.