True Places

True Places❴EPUB❵ ✸ True Places Author Sonja Yoerg – A Washington Post and Charts bestsellerA girl emerges from the woods starved ill and aloneand collapsesSuzanne Blake hurtles along the Blue Ridge Parkway away from her overscheduled and completely nor A Washington Post and Charts bestsellerA girl emerges from the woods starved ill and aloneand collapsesSuzanne Blake hurtles along the Blue Ridge Parkway away from her overscheduled and completely normal life and encounters the girl As Suzanne rushes her to the hospital she never imagines how the encounter will change her—a change she both fears and desperately needsSuzanne has the perfect house a successful husband and a thriving family But beneath the veneer of an ideal life her daughter is rebelling her son is withdrawing her husband is oblivious to it all and Suzanne is increasingly unsure of her place in the world After her discovery of the ethereal sixteen year old who has never experienced civilization Suzanne is compelled to invite Iris into her family’s life and all its apparent privilegesBut Iris has an independence a love of solitude and a discomfort with materialism that contrasts with everything the Blakes stand for—ualities that awaken in Suzanne first a fascination then a longing Now Suzanne can’t help but wonder Is she destined to save Iris or is Iris the one who will save her. This book was wonderful Fog hung in the trees a hush of silvery damp but the girl could tell the sun would burn through before long and dry the grasses hunched under the weight of dew The cabin stood in a small clearing and the trees surrounding it had strained toward the heavens for a long time long enough for the trunks to have become too thick for the girl to enclose them in the circle of her arms long enough for anyone with decency to fall silent in reverence The fog had disappeared as surreptitiously as it has come The sun was high and all the green in the world was rising toward it She listened as she climbed her skin and each of her senses bound together into solid awareness Everything surrounds her impinging on her she felt and knew One day Suzanne had enough; she had to get away from the family and her responsibilities for just a little while so she decided to just drive a little bit She found a little girl next to the woods and took her to the hospital This is where the story of Iris truly begins What happened to her parents? Why did she live in the woods? People People want to know things about you People want you to follow rules People put chemicals in the water and ruin good food and hurt animals and waste things that are precious People won't let you live a simple good life She faced him I don't need people and I don't want them But life is going to take a different turn for Iris because Suzanne can't leave her alone in a world she knows nothing about Suzanne twisted to look across the treetops and roofs to the rolling hills and the mountains beyond She imagined Iris wandering along the ridges drinking from the streams searching for food sleeping on the forest floor untethered and unaccountable to anyone but herself Now Suzanne imagined not Iris but herself alone in the woods The thought made her heart beat faster and for an instant she wasn't certain whether it was from fear or excitement I loved how this book had POV's for Suzanne her husband two kids and Iris We get to find out little things about each of them I loved Suzanne's son Reid He was a big cool dude I hated the daughter Brynn until the end And I didn't like the husband Whit on and off until the end as well And I'm so glad this book had a happy ending for everyone The book had my feel good ending She finished clearing the plants away and suatted on her heels with one hand on the top of the marker listening The wind sighed through the tops of the trees shifting the pattern of light falling to the forest floor A pair of dusky blue butterflies no bigger than her thumbnail danced in a shifting column of light then alighted first one then the other on the damp ground violet blue against brown before twirling upward once Beyond the clearing in the undergrowth a bird kicked through the leaf litter A towhee Happy Reading Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 BLOG REVIEW REVIEW Loved this “The girl was not simply ill or lost; she was otherworldly” True Places is a beautifully written family drama that focuses on materialism and superficiality A family is left in shambles after they take in a 15 year old who has lived off the grid for her enter life They must either learn to recognize what’s really important in life or lose each otherSuzanne a mother of two is simply existing in her upper class world in Charlottesville It appears she has the perfect family perfect husband perfect children and perfect marriage She spends her time doing charity work and constantly taking care of her husband and children But Suzanne is not living paralyzed by fear from an event in her past Suzanne has learned to avoid conflict She is physically present but she’s emotionally stilted One day she takes a long drive for an escape and she stumbles across Iris a 15 year old girl who has lived her entire life in the forest Without a mother or a home Suzanne takes in Iris Her family is resistant and Iris does not want to be a part of this new world full of excess and unnecessary thingsIris’s appearance exposes the cracks in the perfect facade this family has been hiding behindTold from alternating chapters the reader gets to experience the journey and transformation of each characterI really enjoyed True Places While the plot of a crumbling family is one that felt familiar the plot surrounding Iris’s character was original Iris’s character won’t be one I forget for a long time While the writing was strong I felt at times that it was a bit overly preachy and could have used a little subtlety as the message was pretty obvious However I was completely transported by Iris’s journey and loved the chapters told from her perspective I was moved in the end and became emotionally connected to these characters I would recommend to those who are looking for a family drama with a uniue spin 5 Lovely Lyrical and Marvelous StarsThere are times when there are no words When you are writing a review and you know that you just can’t do an author’s novel justice This is one of those times I was lucky enough to be offered an advanced copy of “True Places” from the author Sonja Yoerg and of course I jumped at the chance after having read her prior novel “All the Best People” last year as that book and those characters have stayed with me The same can be said for “True Places” There is a beauty in Sonja Yoerg’s words that transcends all else In “True Places” a young girl named Iris is found on the outskirts of the forest alone emaciated and deathly ill She is brought to a nearby hospital by Suzanne a pillar of the community Suzanne is a wife and mother her husband Whit and her two children Reid and Brynn couldn’t function without her Suzanne is scared for the girl and immediately takes Iris under her wing and together they become a foster family Iris having lived on her own in the woods for so many years does not fit in not at Suzanne’s not anywhere but the woods where she came from When Suzanne took Iris in she imagined that it would be her helping Iris little does she realize it’s Iris who helps her Who's to say what defines a person? Where you belong and what is right for you? In “True Places” Sonja Yoerg expresses the ways in which people can be completely different from each other yet still belong and have a place in this world The place in which they feel the most comfortable their “True Place” Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it takes a bit of work to findWhat stood out for me after having now read two of Ms Yoerg’s novels besides the fact that I need every book she has ever written is the fact that she skillfully delves into to the heart of family dynamics emotions and people in a way that a lot of authors simply cannot Her words are beautiful poetic and soulful In my opinion this is a character driven novel each character fulfilling a different role everyone just as important as the other This novel and these characters especially Suzanne and Iris are ones to cherish If you have not read a novel by Ms Yoerg I can’t recommend her novels strongly enoughA huge thank you to Sonja Yoerg NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for an honest reviewPublished on Goodreads NetGalley Twitter and InstagramWill be published on on release date 45 stars rounded to 5 starsWhat a beautiful story I have now read all four of Ms Yoerg’s books and she never fails to deliver a well written tale with significant depth This one focuses on Suzanne a housewife and mother who is doing the best she can to keep her dysfunctional family rolling on Her co protagonist is Iris a teenager who has lived her whole life in the Blue Ridge Mountains without ever experiencing a “modern” lifestyle How these two come together and help each other handle their pasts and discover a better way of life is the crux of the story Having grown up near the foothills of the Smoky Mountains I loved the Blue Ridge Mountain area setting in Virginia I believe this is home territory for the author Her descriptions brought back those mountain sounds and smells to me Gee I miss all the times I spent with my family in the mountains of the southeast Tennessee I understand Ms Yoerg is also an avid gardener and plant lover and her knowledge of the flora of the mountains in her area is clearly demonstrated in True Places Her descriptive imagery is lovelyThere is a lot going on in True Places but Ms Yoerg keeps us on track There are issues between Suzanne and her parents her husband and her children despite her efforts to keep things moving as smoothly as possible Each of her two children have problems and poor Iris is having a hard time without her family and trying to assimilate into “the real world” At one point I wondered how all of this could possibly be resolved I liked the way the author brought things together at the end though I wished the resolution had been drawn out a little hence the withholding of half a star I must commend the artist responsible for the cover and the author for a perfect title Not only does the title sum up the story in two words it is intriguing and original in this age of so many similar and oh so tired titles My first impressions of a book are almost always based on the cover and the title and this one hauled me in like a mega magnetI felt for the realistically drawn characters especially Suzanne Iris and Reid I was pleased Ms Yoerg didn’t fluff things up with a “perfect” and thus unrealistic ending I would love to visit this family again in ten years to see how things all worked out for them but at the same time I’m glad the author elected not to have an epilogue Despite it feeling a tad rushed the denouement is satisfying just as it isWhat I liked most about this novel is that the story made me think Have I made the most of my life? Am I in my own true place? I highly recommend True Places and Ms Yoerg’s other three books to all readers of contemporary fiction I await the author’s next offering with great anticipationThank you Ms Yoerg for gifting me an ARC of True Places Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way MY THOUGHTS AFTER READING THE SYNOPSISThis is gonna be so awesome I cannot wait to read about how this child adjusts to her new surroundings I mean she has never even seen running water or electricity What will she think of this new world and how will it change her? How did she even end up in the woods? What made her finally leave the only home she has ever known?Everything I hoped I would find in this book based on the description is the complete opposite of what I gotAfter the death of her mother a child that has been living off the grid in the woods stumbles into the modern world where she is discovered and ultimately taken in by the woman that found her SuzanneThis story isn't about Iris at all it is about Suzanne and her shallow self serving unrealistic cliché caricature of a wealthy entitled American family I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest reviewThis was also an Prime First Reads choice Driving along a parkway in Virginia Suzanne Blake notices something on the side of the road As she moves closer she realizes that it is a young girl who is malnourished and in need of medical care After admitting her at a nearby hospital she finds out Iris is an orphan who has been struggling to survive in the woodsSuzanne is informed that Iris will be placed in foster care if no relative can be located Without consulting her family she decides to bring Iris into her household This has lasting ramifications since nobody else is happy with this decision Tension starts to build with her husband and two teenage children where the environment had already been spiraling downward Her husband has a successful career but seems concerned with work than home At the same time her children are growing up and pushing for independence The arrival of Iris seems like a good catalyst to improve some nagging mistakes from her past Sonja Yoerg’s novel provides insight into a woman trying to find her true place in the world People change over time and it takes courage to start on a new path True Places was an engaging view of complex family issues True Places is such an exuisite emotional and beautiful storySonja Yoerg has an impeccable talent of pouring her beautiful words across the pages with such elegance love and inspiration I fell in love with Sonja's writing in All The Best People last year and her new novel is nothing short of amazingThis novel spoke to me in so many different ways Yoerg truly shines with her descriptions of the natural world I was mesmerized with the beautiful words that truly come to light in this novel Haven't we all felt at one point or another that we haven't found our true place in the world? Ironically I never found my place in the world until I stepped foot in the world of social work This story brings to light the complexities and struggles of a family dealing with this thing called life It's about all of the family members losing themselves and somehow finding what makes them happy The power of emotion that pours off these pages will truly touch your soul and your heart Iris knew that being strong wasn't enough because life could weigh then you ever imagined You had to bend like a branch laden with snow arcing toward the earth Highly highly recommend 45 raw and emotional starsHuge thank you to Sonja Yoerg Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for the arc in exchange for my honest thoughtsPublication date 1119Published to GR 111018 True Places was not what I expect and I found myself not that interest in the story The story starts off intriguing with our main character mother Suzanne who has lost herself in her daily life finds herself driving to nowhere She finds a girl Iris who emerges alone from the woods and takes her in to live with her I soon started to uestion who will save who and I really wanted to see some depth to that I found the story focused on the dynamics of the family over the depth to Iris who grew up in the woods There is a lot of everyday drama here with the family and it overshadowed the depth I was looking for Iris was such an interesting character and I wanted to know about her I found myself distracted and wanting to skip over all the drama By the end I just lost interest I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley ”It is not down in any map; true places never are” Moby Dick— Herman Melville “Fog hung in the trees a hush of silvery damp but the girl could tell the sun would burn through before long and dry the grasses hunched under the weight of dew The cabin stood in a small clearing and the trees surrounding it had strained toward the heavens for a long time long enough for the trunks to have become too thick for the girl to enclose them in the circle of her arms long enough for anyone with decency to fall silent in reverence” True Places focuses on the disparity between the everyday ins and outs of daily life in the world we live in and shows the gap between that and the world that surrounds us in nature the beauty in one the soul crushing nature of the tediousness of life day in day out The contrast between the two and the way we react to both of those “places” Whether you’re like Suzanne a mother of two teenagers whose husband who not only adores her he has a financially rewarding job which he seems to thrive on a nice house in a lovely neighborhood and a relatively carefree life but still she is a woman who finds no thrill no purpose in a life spent on things that do not truly bring her joy ”That was in fact what time was a narrow container for a relentless succession of tasks The container could not be expanded but the tasks could multiply exponentially In fact tasks were guaranteed to multiply The law of entropy had undoubtedly been discovered by a mother with two teenagers” And one day on a whim Suzanne’s driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway enjoying the escape from her day to day regular life while inwardly chastising herself going over the reasons it was a bad idea to indulge this whim ”Suzanne’s thoughts tumbled along the falling dominoes of broken commitments She spotted an overlook pulled off the road and came to a halt” ”The foothills tumbled gently down to the valley floor and undulating expanse farmland and wood hazy through lingering mist still and mute” When something on the side of the road catches her eye she pulls over and realizes it’s a person motionless She taps the horn and as this figure moves she realizes how small this person is a girl terrified and trembling And then the girl faints ”The girl was not simply ill or lost she was otherworldly” She drives her to the hospital in Charlottesville and stays to answer uestions and the time she spends trying to figure out where this girl came from how she ended up so frail and bedraggled where is her family and why aren’t they there – the she finds herself immersed in the mystery of this girl A girl who has never known any real modern conveniences let alone the things that occupy the days of the lives of her two teenagers When it is time for her to be released from the hospital and the police can’t confirm the whereabouts of a family for Iris Suzanne convinces her reluctant husband Whit that they should become foster parents for Iris Where this book shines is in the beautifully descriptive sections shared from Iris’s point of view whereas the family drama aspect of this story is a bit familiar and ordinary First World problems faced by her two teenagers who resent the time Suzanne is devoting to Iris – which is not to say that it wasn’t necessary to this story and to help deliver her point For me it detracted a bit from my enjoyment but not so much that it took away from the overall story I also loved how this story was shared from multiple points of view Suzanne Whit their teenage son Reid who seemed to understand Iris and tries to protect her while their teenage daughter Brynn who seems hell bent on the elimination of Iris from their home This was the first book by this author I’ve read and I owe my thanks to two of my two goodreads friends Melissa and Melissa whose reviews prompted me to add this and then to move it to close to the top of my list Please check out their reviews Oh myI feel like the wild violet crushed under the heel of the boot in the field So much promise so much disappointmentSonja Yoerg presents a story set gently in the surrounding area near the Blue Ridge Mountains It's early April and Suzanne Blake mother of two teens is rushing between Super Mom trips She delivers picks up relocates plans and follows through on a daily basis All in the name of her family and her Booster Club activities Her husband Whit enters through the front door when all is said and done at the end of the day never realizing what goes on behind the scenesStressed and swimming to the surface for air Suzanne decides to chuck it all and just drive out into the country to disengage The further out she gets the her shoulders relax She pulls over to the side of the road for a time Her eyes come upon something laying in the field It's a young girl who appears to be injured Rather than wait for help in the middle of nowhere Suzanne rushes the girl to the nearest hospitalIris is a sixteen year old who had been living off the grid since she was a child She's definitely malnourished and considerably underweight Iris gives limited information to the police and Child Protective Services Her mother died and her father took off some time back She's frightened leery of others and needs a place to stay Suzanne has an idea to put forthAnd here is where the story takes a turn down a path that I didn't want to venture down The storyline weaves in the direction of Suzanne herself and her malfunctioning family Iris becomes sidelined and relegated to a shelf taken down when needed Sonja Yoerg writes in gorgeous prose in the first chapter as we lightly experience Iris before her entry into a new life not of her choosing It is Iris who should have been the focus throughout with of her soul searching from past to present She is a rare character with rare experiencesInstead we readers are subjected to the insolence of teenagers out of control and clueless parents The dialogue between mother and daughter is filled with constant snarky remarks and sharp insults with no attempts to shut it down Yeah I get it So real life I turned the pages for Iris and got nothing but an unpleasant TV sitcomSonja Yoerg is a storyteller of stellar proportions I've treasured all of her books But this one was a disappointment for me And even the dreamy ending hitched a star to Suzanne's wagonnot so much to Iris I know I stand pretty much alone against a field of 5 Star reviews It's just my take See what you think