Wednesday, 7 October 2020

Birds Don't Cry by Sandy Day

Birds Don't Cry by Sandy Day
Self published on the 31st August 2020.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

An outsider in her family. Tormented and hindered by secrets. Desperate to find her missing sister-in-law.

She’s in danger of losing herself, while uncovering more than she ever wanted to know. 

Kaffy Sullivan, ornery in her middle-age, expects to inherit Sullivan House, a lovely old inn perched next to a magnificent forest. But if Kaffy hopes to live the rest of her life on the earnings from her grandparents’ legacy, she needs to steer the inn into the twenty-first century, and prevent her siblings from staking their claim. 

A prestigious reviewer from The Lonely Tripper books a reservation—a review that could make or break the inn’s reputation. But on the very same morning, Kaffy’s right-hand woman doesn’t show up for work. Kaffy relies on Sylvia for everything from roast chicken dinners on Saturday nights, to lively conversation with the guests on the porch—a skill that eludes the thorny innkeeper. 

How can Kaffy possibly get Sullivan House ready in time by herself?

Where is Sylvia? 

As time ticks by, Kaffy realizes she’s the only one asking the question. Even Sylvia’s husband, Kaffy’s creepy brother Red, doesn’t seem to care that his wife has disappeared. But he sure seems concerned about the upcoming reading of Gran’s will and the settlement of the estate.

Where is Sylvia? 

Disturbed by Red’s indifference to his wife’s whereabouts, and by his sly retorts about the future of the inn, Kaffy struggles to cope with her odious brother. Pushed on by the impending review, not to mention the reading of the will, Kaffy embarks on an erratic search for Sylvia, while Red’s obstruction becomes worse than ever. 

Kaffy’s never trusted him. Why should she start now?

As she hurtles down a road of dark discoveries, Kaffy tries frantically to get her life under control. 

Where is Sylvia?

Can Kaffy find out before her world flies apart? 

Birds Don’t Cry is a psychological story of rivalry and buried memories among adult siblings. A page turner that drops you directly into one family’s conflict and search for survivors.

Can we ever make amends with our siblings? Are there events we choose not to remember? Or are some memories to awful to contemplate? 

Birds Don't Cry is the fourth of Sandy Day's books that I've read and, for me, she has become an author whose works I will pick up without even necessarily glancing at the synopsis because I know I will greatly appreciate her prose and storytelling. This novel explores the cracked relationships within a dysfunctional family. At the centre is the youngest of three siblings, Kaffy, a prickly introvert with whom I could strongly empathise. It's so unusual to read a novel where an introverted character is truly understood and sympathetically portrayed, but I felt that Day absolutely nails it here. Kaffy's traumatic past has left her scarred and untrusting and she is a difficult to like. I never found myself wondering if she could be someone I might be friends with in the real world (as I often do with fictional people), but I did recognise several of my own traits in her behaviour - a strong distaste for small talk being one example!

I liked how Day wrote the dialogue between everyone. The perpetually awkward atmosphere is informed as much by what doesn't get said as by what does and Kaffy's insecurities really came through in the way she interacted with the people who should have been closest to her. The mystery of Gran's will brings the tension to a head with stilted and deceitful conversations being cleverly used to allow readers to understand hidden motives.

Birds Don't Cry didn't quite hit the notes of my absolute favourite Sandy Day book, The Empty Nest, but it was still a very rewarding read that I enthusiastically recommend to literary fiction and women's fiction fans.

Search Literary Flits for more:
Books by Sandy Day / Women's fiction / Books from Canada

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