A Place to Land by Lauren K. Denton is highly recommended atmospheric Southern mystery.
Violet Figg and her sister Trudy live in the small town of Sugar Bend, Alabama where the two own an arts and craft store called Two Sisters. Violet has always been her sister's protector since their mother left their abusive father when she was seventeen and Trudy was fourteen. Her role was cemented, though, forty years ago when a traumatic incident left Trudy no longer speaking. She has used notes to communicate ever since and spends her time making sculptures from found objects. Violet spends her time monitoring bird activity and working at their store. When an old boat shows up on a riverbank, it brings an old mystery back into the present.
At the same time, Maya, a young eighteen-year-old, has left the foster care system and is looking for a place to belong.
She has moved into town where she found a part time job. Maya has also
discovered Two Sisters and is engrossed with Trudy's sculptures and Trudy allows her to help her with them.
This is a well-written, slow-paced mystery that takes its time to
introduce the characters and setting while inserting a creeping sense of
mystery and uncertainty into the narrative. The plot clearly examines
family, love, acceptance, and redemption, along with finding a way or
place to belong and use your gifts. It also has characters facing their
actions and the consequences of those deeds while including the
difficult topics of domestic violence and murder.
The novel is told through two time periods, the present day and events back in the 1970's and 1980's. There is a reoccurring ominous sign that something distressing is coming. This went a bit over-the-top for me, but it does set the stage for events forthcoming and secrets that will soon be revealed. 3.5 rounded up.