What kind of secrets do families keep from one another? Are there truly some that should never be revealed? What is family actually worth? These are some of the very hard, and often times uncomfortable, questions that Goodson brings up in her debut novella. Nothing is as it seems when family members come together to make good on their grandfather/father’s last wish in order to get their inheritance: they all must work together to clean out the old family home. What transpired was such an emotional roller coaster I was completely unprepared for it, but I so loved the ride!
Now, first, a few triggers. The book deals with mental health, or, more aptly, how NOT to deal with mental health issues in a healthy way. As someone who has close family members who struggle with such issues, I felt this was spot on to how a lot of people treat those with mental illness. It’s uncomfortable, but it’s meant to be. It may come off as insensitive but with the way the characters are crafted, heck, with how the story ends, this portrayal is done with intention. It’s done to prove a point about the unawareness that sometimes follows complex mental diseases, not because the author was ignorant of any of these issues. Oh no! But, if that’s something that just pushes your buttons, you may not enjoy this dark family drama.
As someone who loves stories with dark twists, ones that don’t always have the classic “happy” ending, and likes books that focus on difficult topics as a way to maybe help us make sense of our lives, “Wall of Crosses” was right up my alley when it comes to scratching that contemporary fiction itch. Goodson crafts such seamless scene transitions between the family’s flashbacks, the analogies and metaphors she uses are just beautiful, and the family bickering? So much fun! There is so much drama and suspense packed into this novella, that it had some serious thriller elements to it, which I was pleasantly surprised by, especially when it comes to the end. What an ending! But I’ll say no more, because no one likes spoilers.
I’m usually not a huge fan of novellas; I like massive worlds and long lists of characters with delicious complexity. But the author is able to accomplish a great deal in such a “small” space, especially when it came to character development as that was all exceptionally well done. I will say that this story almost begs for a sequel because of where things end, so I hope we get one eventually. I truly wish I could say more about the book, but I am too afraid of spoiling anything. So I’m giving it 5 stars and will be eagerly awaiting more from this author! And thanks to the author for providing an ARC for review!
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