Dark is the Sky: A Review

Hi friends!

I'm so excited to share my thoughts on Jessica Chambers' most recent novel Dark is the Sky because, let me just say, she is rapidly becoming one of my favorite authors. Last year, I had the pleasure of hosting Jessica on this little blog and so I was delighted to hear from her again about reviewing her latest literary gem.

Dark is the Sky: A Summary

It’s been twelve years since Olivia and Joel Cameron invited the family to spend the weekend at their country home, a visit that ended in tragedy. Scott, Joel’s outrageously sexy youngest brother, was found dead, and the repercussions have torn the family apart.

Now, Olivia’s sister Violet has persuaded her to host a reunion so they can finally lay their ghosts to rest...but there are some secrets too destructive to remain hidden, and Violet, still grieving for the man she loved, is determined to uncover the truth. As the web of hostility and deceit begins to unravel, family ties are tested to the limit.

Dark is the Sky: What I Think

If you know me at all, you know I love gothic novels. Family secrets are my thing (perhaps because I know a thing or two about them?) and discovering the truth is like opening a present on Christmas morning.

At least in books, it is.

Chambers' novel started a little slow, but picked up rather quickly. Her strength seems to be in developing characters who are distinct and memorable, yet still remain realistic in their flaws. Dark is the Sky was an undeniable leap from Jessica's previous novel Voice on the Waves which was both entertaining and descriptive, but lacking in overall development and pace.

What I admire most about this newest novel is the revelation that comes with uncovering truth behind reality. What I mean to say is the reader gets to know the characters as they were in the past and as they are today, but still has a long way to go before she truly understands their motivations, their decisions, and their emotions. This is what makes Dark so enticing: I cared about why Scott's death had occurred before I ever unraveled the intricate web of familial deceit. And when the truth was out, I was grateful to the author for surprising me.

My only real criticism is that I wish Chambers had gotten my full attention from the very beginning. With multiple viewpoints in one story it helps to start with a flashback or anecdote to make the reader sit up and say, "What is that about?" Otherwise, the first few chapters are a slow procession of "Why do I care?" I would have liked to see a short preview of later chapters to let me in on the fact that this was more than a compilation of generational growing pains. It would have also given me a reference point for when Chambers' suddenly does a flashback in chapter five to the initial family gathering.

What I really appreciated most as a reader was Chambers' willingness to jump right into uncomfortable situations and make me stare them in the face. In many ways, she made me feel things I've only ever felt with my own family when forced to confront our skeletons in the closet. And, more than anything, Chambers helped me discover the wonderful reality that you're never too far gone to return home...

...but one more thing...

Jessica, can I please come visit you across the pond? I seriously need some brushing up on my British vernacular!

To learn more about Jessica Chambers, please visit her official website.

Dark is the Sky is available for purchase on Amazon.com and you can also get a preview by clicking here.

Thank you, Jessica, for asking me to review your novel. I can't wait to read your next one!

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