Sunday, March 27, 2016

Hush, Little Bird

Hush, Little Bird by Nicole Trope
Allen & Unwin: 4/1/16
eBook review copy; 384 pages
paperback ISBN-13: 978-1760113728

Hush, Little Bird by Nicole Trope is a very highly recommended novel about two very different women who share a tragic connection.

Birdy has recently been transferred to the Farm, a minimum security prison. Her nickname was Fliss, short for Felicity, but she was given the nickname Birdy because she now cares for the finches at the Farm and Birdy is the only name she likes now. She's has kept her anger a secret for a long time, especially from the counselors, but she silently has an agenda of what she will do to Rose once she is released. Birdy may not have to wait because it looks like Rose is going to be coming to the Farm and Birdy will be able to have her revenge sooner than she expected.

Rose, the wife of a minor celebrity, has been convicted of a shocking crime and has been sentence to serve her sentence at the Farm. Hopefully a retrial will set her free. Her lawyer and daughters are sure of that. Rose is struggling with the circumstances that have sent her to the Farm and the truth of what really happened. Rose has kept some secrets of her own

As Rose is assigned to work in the vegetable garden, Birdy is nearby, in the aviary, and she is keeping an eye on Rose. Birdy recognizes Rose immediately, but Rose doesn't recognize Birdy. Of course this could be because Rose last saw her years ago, when Birdy was a still child. Rose should have protected her then and kept her safe, just like Birdy keeps her own daughter, Isabel, safe. Now Birdy's sister Lila cares for Isabel. Birdy doesn't want her mom to see her.

These characters are fully realized and emotionally complex individuals. The chapters alternate between the stories of Birdy and Rose. Trope slowly reveals more and more facts as each woman tells her story. They have very distinct voices. Birdy is an individual with special needs. Her voice is literal and simple, but truthful. Rose is a fifty five year old woman who came from meager means but has lived a life of privilege for years. Her voice is mature, but emotionally fragile and insecure. It becomes clear in her account that she has been deceiving herself and turning a blind eye to the truth for years. 

This is a heartbreaking novel. The writing is incredible and the alternating stories are perfectly conceived, paced, and composed. There is anguish and an overwhelming compassion for the characters once their back stories are fully realized. Adults do sometimes fail to protect children. Monsters do hide in plain sight. It is wretched that sometimes we deceive ourselves and fail to see the truth in front of our faces. Trope covers a difficult subject with compassion and sensitivity in Hush, Little Bird.

Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Allen & Unwin for review purposes.

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