Review + Giveaway: Come Sunday

15 Sep

If you’ve stumbled here from BBAW, WELCOME!!

I’ve never really put much stock in cover blurbs. I know some of my esteemed blogger colleagues sometimes put a lot of stock in the blurbs, more specifically on who provided the blurb, but until Isla Morley’s Come Sunday, I never really had. The blurb on the cover of this debut novel is from Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants: “A heart-wrenching tale of unthinkable loss and hard-won healing. This is a novel to savor.” Love Sara. Love Water for Elephants. Excellent endorsement.

I’d heard about Come Sunday on Goodreads and then Twitter, and was incredibly intrigued by the premise of the book. From Morley’s Web site:

Abbe Deighton is a woman who has lost her bearings. Once a child of the African plains, she is now settled in Hawaii, married to a minister, and waging her battles in a hallway of monotony. There is the leaky roof, the chafing expectations of her husband’s congregation and the constant demands of motherhood. But in an instant, beginning with the skid of tires, Abbe’s battlefield is transformed when her three-year-old daughter is killed, triggering in Abbe a seismic grief that will cut a swath through the landscape of her life and her identity.

Clawing its way through the strata of grief comes the memory of another tragedy, one that has been tucked away for twenty years. If Abbe is to find a way through blame and guilt and find redemption she must confront the last summer of her youth.

It is a journey that will take her back to the continent of her childhood, bringing her face-to-face with her past, to the old witchdoctor’s hut where curses were cast, secrets kept and a crime concealed. Abbe will have to make the harshest of choices, choices which blur the lines of life and death, responsibility and forgiveness, murder and self-defense.

Come Sunday is a novel about searching for a true homeland, family bonds torn asunder, and the unearthing of decades-old secrets. It is a novel to celebrate, and Isla Morley is a writer to love.

Between this description and the Gruen blurb, I was anticipating an emotionally tough, but satisfying read. And it didn’t disappoint – for the most part. The setting of the novel – in Honolulu and South Africa – was foreign to say the least, and it was difficult for me to get immersed in the book because I had a hard time relating to the setting, which is a huge part of the novel. But the emotion of the novel was undeniable. Abbe and her husband treat each other, both before and after their daughter is killed, in ways that are realistic and heartbreaking and unflinching. It’s sad to see what this kind of a loss does to people, but in no way was the relationship or their reactions to the world around them and the people around them forced.

That being said, there were some moments where the narrative structure bothered me and pulled me out of the story that was distracting. The story jumps between present day and Abbe and her husband dealing with the death of her child and Abbe’s past – including her relationship with her parents, her brother, and her troubled childhood in South Africa. It wasn’t immediately clear to me how these two stories were related, aside from Abbe as the common denominator. Even by the end of the book, I struggled to connect the separate story lines, even though it is slightly more clear at the conclusion of the novel. Most of the storyline jumps are understandable, but there are a few moments where Abbe’s present story jumps away to a seemingly-unrelated memory and when we finally do get back to present day (a story I found much more compelling, most of the time), it’s hard to re-immerse yourself in the plot.

Overall though, this story was compelling and heartfelt – and surprisingly fresh. My heart broke when their daughter was killed, and I could relate (even if I’d never experienced anything like that) to Abbe’s anger and the difficulty in granting forgiveness. This is a fantastic late summer, early fall novel. I’m not the only one that think so! Look at the awards:

Winner of the 2009 Kafka Prize for Fiction

FINALIST for THE COMMONWEALTH PRIZE

FINALIST for the Audie 2010 Award for Literary Fiction

LONGLISTED for the Sunday Times Literary Award

And newly announced, like TODAY, she’s won the Janet Heidinger Kafka Prize for Women’s Fiction

Now for the giveaway (BEST PART!): I received this book for review from Picador and they’ve offered one of my lucky readers the chance at a copy as well!!

 Leave a comment with:

  1. your name,
  2. email (doesn’t have to be in the comment – just make sure the one you use to comment is valid),
  3. and for one extra entry, tweet this giveaway and include the link to your tweet. Don’t forget to include @homebtwnpages!!

Sorry, but this giveaway is only for U.S. entries.

I will announce the winners next Wednesday, Sept. 22nd.

Also stay tuned the rest of the week. Four more great giveaways are forthcoming!

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25 Responses to “Review + Giveaway: Come Sunday”

  1. C_Girl September 15, 2010 at 2:24 pm #

    Looks good. I have a minor fetish for books about colonialists in Africa…I’ve read quite a few. Pick me!

  2. Lori L September 15, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    Wow! Look at those awards! I’d love to win a copy!
    shetreadssoftly(at)gmail(dot)com

  3. Alyce September 15, 2010 at 3:49 pm #

    I’d like to win!

    akreese (at) hotmail (dot) com

  4. Arceli September 15, 2010 at 4:44 pm #

    Sounds like a really interesting read!

    a(dot)long(at)tcu(dot)edu

  5. Ang September 15, 2010 at 5:07 pm #

    This one sounds great – I’d love to win! Thanks so much!

  6. Amy September 15, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    I have read some good reviews of this book and would really like to read it.

    Thank you for a great giveaway!

    ~ Amy
    Aimala127 AT gmail DOT com

  7. Nancye Davis September 16, 2010 at 8:21 am #

    I would love to win this book. Thanks for the chance!

    Nancye Davis
    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

  8. Jo-Jo September 16, 2010 at 10:45 am #

    I would love to win this book!
    joannelong74 AT gmail DOT com

  9. emily l September 16, 2010 at 6:22 pm #

    I would love to be entered. Thanks! – Emily

    misusedinnocence@aol.com

  10. callie September 16, 2010 at 7:25 pm #

    just ran across your blog. love it. would love to win this book!

  11. Nancye Davis September 16, 2010 at 8:43 pm #

    Thanks for the giveaway! I would love to win this book! 🙂

    Tweet! Tweet!
    @NancyeDavis

    nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

    Thanks!
    Nancye Davis

  12. Melissa R. September 17, 2010 at 9:53 am #

    Oh this looks good…sad but good.

    Melissa R.

    GiveawayMommy at yahoo.com

  13. nicole langan September 17, 2010 at 11:45 am #

    would love to win this!thx.

  14. Sue September 17, 2010 at 12:34 pm #

    I’d love a chance! Thanks for the giveaway.

    s.mickelson at gmail dot com

  15. Ellie September 17, 2010 at 5:02 pm #

    Sounds interesting. Would love to enter the contest! Maybe I’ll win!

  16. Melissa R. September 17, 2010 at 7:47 pm #

    I would love to be entered! Thank you!

    giveawaymommy at yahoo.com

  17. Elise September 17, 2010 at 9:27 pm #

    Thanks!

    Elise
    caliblue7 at gmail dot com

  18. Amy September 17, 2010 at 10:56 pm #

    Thanks for the giveaway!

    Amy S.
    artsyrockerchick at aim dot com

  19. Linda Kish September 17, 2010 at 11:34 pm #

    Please include me.
    Thanks for the chance to win.

    lkish77123 at gmail dot com

  20. Megan September 17, 2010 at 11:39 pm #

    I’d love a chance at this one. Thanks!

    toadacious1 at yahoo dot com

  21. Amber Stults September 18, 2010 at 12:42 am #

    Wow. This one has won a lot of awards and I’ve never heard of it. 😦 Sounds like it will be good. Please enter me for a chance at winning a copy.

  22. Kristi H. September 18, 2010 at 2:03 am #

    Hi – I love finding new blogs through BBAW! I have signed up to get your feed! This book sounds so sad – but would like the opportunity to read it anyway!

    kherbrand at comcast dot net

  23. Heather Henderson September 20, 2010 at 9:13 am #

    Wow, this book looks so great. Thanks for participating in BBAW.
    hmhenderson AT yahoo DOT com

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. TBR List + Giveaway #2: Brick Lane & The Shadow of the Wind « a home between the pages - September 16, 2010

    […] if these don’t tickle your fancy, have you checked out my giveaway in yesterday’s post? And stay tuned for two more giveaways […]

  2. WINNER! Come Sunday by Isla Morley « a home between the pages - September 22, 2010

    […] without further ado, the winner of Isla Morley’s Come Sunday […]

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