Strangers at the Feast

Jennifer Vanderbes

Strangers at the Feast

This timely and tension-filled new novel written by Jennifer Vanderbes, came to me from the publisher, Scribner. The pace begins slowly, with the characters being developed intricately. You find yourself quickly spiraling  into the psyche of each character. There are no shallow people in this story. No sirree.

Vanderbes begins her timely novel on Thanksgiving Day, 2007, just as America is about to begin stumbling into the abyss of mortgage hell, credit card abuse, and health care devastation.

The Olson family has gathered together under one roof, the most unlikely. Their unmarried daughter has seemingly adopted an Indian child who is mute. What better opportunity for the family to mesh and meet this new addition. Their son and his wife have gotten themselves involved in the real estate debacle.  The inevitability of it looms over their heads like an unhealthy cloud of smoke. Meanwhile, two young men who feel they’ve been unjustly wronged, are planning revenge.

It took some chapters before this unusual novel became a page-turner for me, but once it did I could not put it down. The family aspect of this story was never lost on me. What lengths would you go to to protect your family? Do you even know? Our relationships with our family members is so complex. And it changes from year to year. These characters are put to the test. And what a test it is.

Race, family, current events, all come together to create a block buster of an ending.  This is no tie it all up and put a bow on it ending. It’s very realistic and extremely well-thought-out.

I think this one will have legs. Could become a classic. Definitely should be a must-read. Vanderbes is an author to watch. She has written another award winning novel called “Easter Island”. We can only cross our fingers and hope she is working on another winner right this minute.

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