By Melissa Payne
Published October 2021
Nora has dedicated her life to trying to save her brother, Mario. But no matter what she does, including putting her own life on hold, Mario can’t beat his drug addiction for long. In the hopes that her own good deeds will pay it forward, Nora spends her free time helping the homeless in her town of Silver Ridge, Colorado.
On the day the novel opens, Nora chases another lead that Mario may be back in town. When her search proves fruitless, she goes to her job as the town librarian, already planning what she can do the following day to find her brother. However, that night a massive snow storm hits the town, trapping her in the library with Marlene, a crotchety senior citizen, Vlado, the library’s security guard, Lewis, a homeless man who nearly overdosed outside the library, and Jasmine, a local teenager.
Through the long night, as the group battles falling temperatures and damage to the library, they eventually open up to each other, revealing their own dreams and fears. By the time the storm is over, each of them learns startling truths about themselves and how reliant they are on other people.
This is a quiet book that moved a little slow for me for the first few chapters. Possibly because I didn’t relate very well to Nora and her motivations. Things picked up and my interest was piqued when Marlene’s point of view came into play. I’m not sure what it says about me that I related most closely with her of the three point of view characters (Nora, Marlene, and Lewis), but she touched something in me. From that point on, I had a hard time putting the book down.
Every character in this novel was compelling and wonderfully fleshed out. A large portion of the book was backstory, but it didn’t feel bogged down. Just when I thought I was up to speed on what motivated each character, the author would drop in a tantalizing hint that everything hadn’t been revealed or a bombshell that completely changed my perspective. By the time the storm was almost over, I was so drawn into the story that I blew off everything I needed to do last night to finish the book.
If you’re a fan of heavily plot-driven novels, this might feel slow to you. But if you love a deep point of view novel with moving character arcs, I highly recommend you pick this one up.
This is my first five-star review of 2022. I wasn’t settled on the rating until I got near the end and cried. Yes, Lewis made me cry. And any novel that I shed a tear over deserves five stars.
Until next time, thank you for visiting.
My rating system:
5 stars – Wow, I could not stop thinking about this book and/or I wish I’d writtn it.
4 stars – This was an awesome novel, I’d recommend it to friends.
3 stars – This was a good novel, I will look for more by this author.
2 stars – An okay novel, but I probably won’t look for anything else by the author.
Plot is what keeps you going when you read a story, character is what stays with you.Ann Charters