Title: The Whole Golden World
Author: Kristina Riggle
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: November 5, 2013
Source: copy received for honest review through TLC Book Tours
Plot Summary from Goodreads:
To the outside Diana and Joe have a perfect family-three lovely children, a beautiful home, and a café that's finally taking off. But their world is rocked when it's discovered that their oldest daughter, 17-year-old Morgan is having an affair with her married teacher, TJ Hill.
Their town rocks with the scandal. When the case goes to trial, the family is torn further apart when Morgan sides not with her parents-as a manipulated teenage girl; but with TJ himself-as a woman who loves a 30-year-old man.
Told from the perspectives of Morgan, Diana, and TJ's wife, Rain, this is an unforgettable story that fully explores the surprising, even shocking, events that change the lives of two families.
Who's ready for a doozy of a family drama? Cuz I loooooved this one.
Obviously, the subject matter in The Whole Golden World is rather scandalous, so I was originally drawn in by my curiosity-killed-the-cat mentality. However, the best thing about this novel is the way that the author is able to successfully weave a tale told by three very different narrators. Morgan's POV was a perfect portrayal of a 17-year-old high school senior: headstrong, naive, thinks she knows everything and needs no one...until she doesn't. Her personality is inherently contradictory, and Riggle handles this complexity so very well. Dinah (Morgan's mother) battles between being an overly involved "helicopter mom" and letting her kids be kids. And Rain (TJ's wife) must decide how far she's willing to take the idea of "for better or worse".
Flat characters? I HAZ NONE. Each of these narrators has some aspect of their personality that they are struggling with, and Riggle does an amazing job depicting those struggles without making the characters seem confusing or inconsistent.
I will say that, for the first 2/3 of the novel, I was confused about why the author chose Rain as the third narrator, rather than TJ. TJ is much more intimately involved in the central problem of the plot, and I was often left wondering about his motives--thus, his POV would have been helpful. However, once I got to the last third of the book, it became clear why Rain was in the POV "driver's seat", if you will, rather than TJ. And despite the lack of narration from him, by the end, I had a pretty good idea of what his intentions were anyway.
Fans of Jodi Picoult, Anita Shreve, etc will definitely be into this one. Yes, it's full of family drama, but there's more than that--it's also beautifully written, and the story is spliced together in a way that constantly leaves you wanting more. Every chapter ending will leave you with enough questions that you'll have a hard time putting it down, all the way until the (rather satisfying) conclusion. This was my first experience with Kristina Riggle's work, but methinks it's time to go back and check out her past novels as well!
As always, much thanks to Trish and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour!
HERE. And connect with Kristina Riggle on her website, Facebook, and Twitter.
The publisher sent me an extra copy of The Whole Golden World, and I have decided to gift it to one lucky blog reader. Just fill out the Rafflecopter below to enter! Entries are for US/Canada residents only and contest closes 11/27.a Rafflecopter giveaway