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Book Review: Whispers in the Alders by H. A. Callum

“The drifts formed and moved like waves animated in clay, seeming to have a purpose to the shapes they took and the directions they wandered.”

From the beginning, the story swept me up and carried me along. I was entranced by H. A. Callum’s poetic descriptions. He used his words to paint vivid images for his reader. Unlike other novels, I didn’t feel bogged down in the description, rather I wanted to wade through the words and see this new world through Callum’s eyes.

“Tommy and I had always made the vow to break the mold and live our lives on our terms regardless of the cost. And that is what I did.”

By the fourth page, I had identified with Aubrey, the narrator of the story. This is a mark of how easily Callum draws you into his world. Throughout the rest of the book, I found myself in awe of Aubrey and the choices she faced. Aubrey made realistic decisions with realistic outcomes.

“Tommy went on, ‘But it just happens, right? All your life you dream of getting out and exploring the world, but then life just grabs you by the foot and pulls you back in.’”

Throughout the novel, Callum used dialogue to show his characters in unique ways and to make us fall in love with them. Since the book is narrated by Aubrey, many of the dialogues between Aubrey and Tommy are the only clues we get to Tommy’s worlds. The two aren’t able to talk as often as they’d like, but each interaction gives us a glimpse of the kind and tender heart of Tommy.

Personally, I would have loved more interactions between Aubrey and Tommy. A few scenes explained how they continued to talk to one another, and I wish Callum had expanded those scenes with more dialogue. I think it would have anchored their relationship for me.

As much as I can identify with the characters, I can also recognize Alder Ferry. It may very well be unique in its location and setting, but the town’s mindset is very much alive across the United States. Many readers will recognize the town mentality and shudder to think what or who are falling through the cracks at this moment in time in their own chunk of the world.

I will be recommending this novel to all my fellow readers, and I look forward to seeing what this talented author has in store for us in the future.

Note: I received an advance review copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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