Olivia is determined to figure who is killing and disfiguring the wolves on her property and why. She has her suspicions about it – the Phelps boys have always been evil, for example- but she cannot understand why. Meanwhile, she has to go about her life, juggling her responsibilities of raising her grandson, caring for her insane mother whom she has always called Ida, running her grocery store, and maintaining her household, until her life gets completely turned around by her gradual discoveries from her wolf investigations.
The voice of the storyteller is Olivia’s and it is frank and raw and powerful. Olivia lives in such frequently harsh conditions that her emotions usually must be kept tamed, but the heat of her seething anger sears the page. She loves her father as fiercely as she hates her mother, and her world is build around this contrast. She is smart but not educated and while she doesn’t give herself credit for having much, she manages to navigate complicated and even dangerous situations with strength and with heart. She is a truly beautiful, strong woman character.
I think the way that racism and racial violence is woven into the story is extremely effective as well. There is a building of very tender relationships between Olivia and some of her black friends, particularly of her best friend, Love Alice, as a preface to any of the tension. When incidents do happen -or even threats of them- then, it becomes all that much more personal and so incredibly disturbing. It feels like my own family members have been affected when they are only fictional characters, because of this beautiful character development. And the story builds into an incredibly suspenseful and somewhat complicated plot line – I literally could not put this book down!
This was a surprisingly excellent book – I very highly recommend it! A new “must-read” for the blog!