AVAILABLE August 16, 2022
Baxter Shaw is a forty-something widower of eight year old daughter, Mia. His grief after the tragic loss of his wife, Sofia, three years earlier has led him down a spiral of defensiveness and despair. He’s given up any close relationships, given up his creative outlets, and sleepwalks through work. Life has become meaningless and drab. It is seriously affecting Mia. Her schoolwork and social connections are suffering. Baxter already resigned himself to sorrow, but now he’s also a failure as a parent. Still, it is better than what he had as a child, he tells himself.
Then an email from DNA site 23andMe chimes on Baxter’s computer. Years ago he and his late wife submitted their information. Sofia was looking for her birth mother. The email is from Ester Arroyo and she is trying to find the daughter she gave up for adoption in Spain. This is the last thing Baxter needs right now. All of his efforts to move forward feel thwarted. How is he supposed to heal if painful memories keep getting dragged to the surface? Best to leave his old life behind and accept the new reality, right?
The rest of the novel chronicles the pilgrimage of Baxter, Mia, and the Arroyo family. It is beautifully written–a story that illuminated bright yellow within my soul. Yes, yellow. I cannot remember the last time a book resonated on such a personal level.
Author Boo Walker uses imagery with such gifted skill that I could see, hear, smell, and taste everything he described. He breathes a rare sensitivity into the characters plus subtle symbolism for the perceptive reader. And, as someone who suffered a sudden loss, has found relatives on DNA sites, and had the opportunity to meet a branch of my family tree in an enchanted foreign land (Guanajuato, Mexico,) I could relate a lot. But those are not prerequisites.
The author describes himself as a writer of “page turners for soul searchers.” Aren’t all of us searching? Even if you do not have similar experiences, the depth and vibrancy of this book will leave you with an afterglow long after reading the last page.
This is the first ARC to receive a rare 10 Stars on my book review blog. Very well-deserved! Boo Walker’s work will definitely get highlighted more often on this site. Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for the advanced copy.
**Boo Walker also writes thrillers under the pen name “Benjamin Blackmore.” A little more edgy, but still well-written. The 90 page novella Off You Go is a good place to start. All of his books are available for automatic download with a Kindle Unlimited subscription. (A great investment.)