Welcome to the Pine Away Motel and Cabins by Katarina Bivald wasn't what I expected, but was so much more. It was a slow build, but I became more and more involved with the situations and the characters.
It opens with the ghost of Henny Broek who has been hit by a truck. Her life had been about to turn around--the love of her life has just returned to their small town, and Henny's dreams seem to be coming true. Then, before her dreams can be realized, Henny is looking at her own body.
At first, Henny thinks it must be a mistake or a dream, then when she accepts the fact that she is really dead, she thinks maybe she can convince God to somehow make it right and give her back her life and dreams. This doesn't work out either.
Henny isn't the kind of ghost who can be seen or heard; she can't directly influence anything, but once she has accepted her situation, Henny tries to make things better for the people she loves. She's happy that she can see her favorite mountain, tag along with her friends, see the sun rise each morning.
I love this book. It's the kind of book that makes you think, that tackles the strengths and frailties of humanity. There were twists in situations that surprised me--situations that didn't evolve the way I expected. It speaks in a gentle way to all the divisions among people, none of whom are perfect, none of whom are evil, all of whom judge and misjudge at times. It is about people who can be kind and compassionate and still display intolerance and prejudice. It is about friendship and family and community. It's about seeking a way to live together despite our differences.
It was exactly what I needed.
Fiction. Jan. 7, 2020. Print length: 448 pages.