I consider myself to be a lucky bibliophile; I have several really good indie bookstores within driving range of where I live. There's Booksellers at Laurelwood in East Memphis, Burke's Books in Midtown Memphis (where I live) and Square Books in Oxford, Mississippi, of which is only an hour and thirty minutes away. Whenever I drive to Oxford, I always make the most of the drive and consider it to be a mini vacation of sorts. Once I reach the town, I feel as though I have traveled back in time - the houses with their Southern charm, the trees that seem to be too perfect to be real and, of course, Rowan Oak, the house of author William Faulkner, of which I try to visit every time I am down there just to say "hello".
So it was that I drove to Oxford on a Saturday to hear and meet author Brittani Sonnenberg, author of the book Home Leave, a delightfully well written story of a global traveling family. I will admit that I was unsure as to whether or not I would enjoy this book, yet once I began reading it, especially after hearing Sonnenberg read the first chapter out loud, I knew that I was in for a treat.
Meet the Kriegsteins - Chris, the father; Elise, his wife; and their two daughters Sophie and Leah. Because of Chris' global career, the family moves from city to city, country to country, never truly setting their roots in one place. They are a family on the move that must adapt to the constant change that their lives encounter. However, when tragedy strikes the family, it is that very change that will both bring them closer than ever while at the same time drive them apart. Secrets will be created while truthful thoughts, no matter how painful, arise to the surface and remain there until either handled or simply ignored all the while knowing that they will never go away.
Sonnenberg writes with confidence of this global family, especially since her life consisted of moving from country to country with her family. Her voice is strong, of which you can clearly hear in the pages, and it changes quite well when the character focus shifts from daughters to husband to wife. Although the Kriegsteins live the ultimate life of seeing the world, one can also feel sympathy for them as well. It is not an easy life to never be in one place and call it home. Sonnenberg's words make you feel sorry for the Kriegsteins as well as envy them, a paradox that is both expected and envied.
Home Leave is a fantastic debut by a fantastic author who is also a very kind soul. I felt honoured to have met a fellow author whom I know will make her place among those who are masters of the Written Word.
From one author to another - thank you for Home Leave.