How Sweet the Sound is Amy Sorrels debut novel. If it is any indication of what is to come from her, we are in for a treat every time she releases a new title. Her book is a wonderful combination of Southern charm and Southern crazy. The characters come to life in a gentle manner that has you settling in for a good read and suddenly you find yourself in the middle of a dysfunctional family. On the back cover it is called a “tender coming of age tale,” and in some ways I agree with that, but it is so much more.
The Harlans are a very respectable southern family, at least on the surface. Underneath there are secrets, dark deadly secrets that they all try very hard to keep there. One night it all ends with Anniston witnessing something awful. Something that removes all thoughts from her mind that her family is normal. There has always been something off about her Uncle Cole, and after that night she knows there is more to him than she ever knew.
As her grandmother struggles to keep a normal that doesn’t, and maybe never did, exist, Anniston is finding herself growing up quicker than expected. Her new friend Jed has a whole different set of issues that make life even harder to understand.
In some small ways I felt like I was reading a book that I could compare to the style of To Kill a Mockingbird. It has that feel to it, there are bigger issues below the surface and it is a taking a child to find them and bring them to light. The adults in the situation don’t seem to want a change or even to acknowledge that things are not right.
I don’t want to scare you away from reading the book, it is not an easy read, but it sure is a good one. With a slight nod to the story of Tamar in 2 Samuel, you will find yourself wondering how Anniston and her family are doing today. Amy does a good job handling what is a very tough topic. It is not one many of us choose to deal with, but I also believe it is important to understand what it is like for family members and even the victims.
I can’t say, pull up a chair and relax while reading this, but read this book. You will thank me later.