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Tethered: A Novel [Kindle Edition]

Amy Mackinnon
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (57 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.00
Kindle Price: $9.78
You Save: $5.22 (35%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

Clara Marsh is an undertaker who doesn’t believe in God. She spends her solitary life among the dead, preparing their last baths and bidding them farewell with a bouquet from her own garden. Her carefully structured life shifts when she discovers a neglected little girl, Trecie, playing in the funeral parlor, desperate for a friend.

It changes even more when Detective Mike Sullivan starts questioning her again about a body she prepared three years ago, an unidentified girl found murdered in a nearby strip of woods. Unclaimed by family, the community christened her Precious Doe. When Clara and Mike learn Trecie may be involved with the same people who killed Precious Doe, Clara must choose between the stead-fast existence of loneliness and the perils of binding one’s life to another.

From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

MacKinnon's debut offers an authentic view of an undertaker's job, but the passivity of her emotionally wounded heroinemay exasperate some readers. In Brockton,Mass., lonely Clara Marsh tends to the dead at Bartholomew Funeral Home, whose kindly owner reminds Clara of the undertaker she met as a child at her mother's funeral. When Trecie, a neglected little girl, begins hanging around the funeral parlor, Clara thinks nothing of it until a routine body pickup uncovers a stash of child pornography and Clara recognizes Trecie in a video. The ensuing investigation also points to Precious Doe, an unidentified child murdered three years earlier and whose grave Clara often visits in secret. Aided by a sensitive Irish cop, Det. Mike Sullivan, to whom she's attracted, Clara tries to unravel the mystery, even if that means confronting her own unpleasant past. Some affecting, understated prose only partially redeems the flat story line. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Undertaker Clara Marsh doesn’t believe in God. It’s hardly a wonder; she has had little in life to give her cause for faith. After surviving the car accident that killed her free-spirited mother, she was raised by a grandmother who beat her with a brush and tore out her hair. When Clara finally escapes her grandmother’s clutches, she enrolls in mortuary school and lands a job at a New England funeral home whose kindhearted owners take her in as their own. Clara finds herself drawn to the cold case of “Precious Doe,” an unidentified teen found murdered in the nearby woods. She senses it’s more than coincidence when a neglected young waif named Trecie appears in the funeral parlor where she works. Could Trecie be destined for the same fate as “Precious Doe”? Throughout her life, Clara has taken great pains to remain uninvolved in others’ lives. But this time it’s different. MacKinnon’s fascination with the inner workings of her uncle’s funeral business inspired this haunting, gracefully rendered debut. --Allison Block

Product Details

  • File Size: 405 KB
  • Print Length: 274 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307408965
  • Publisher: Broadway Books (August 12, 2008)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B001RTC0DI
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #579,786 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Cut Above August 12, 2008
My favorite books tend to be the ones that address real human emotion; nothing fluffy about human emotion. And Tethered doesn't pretend that there is. The funeral home employee, Clara, is so real and just dead on (no pun intended!) to any real person who has endured anything other than a starlet's life. All of Mackinnon's characters are real people, her talent lies in never pandering to literary stereotypes or the demand for a perfect heroine with "cute" and easily overcome flaws. As Clara's life, past and present, unfolds around the mystery of Precious Doe's short life and heartbreaking death I found myself identifying MUCH more than I would have expected with her isolation and desire to simply move on and have an easy, if lonely, life, and then her ultimate struggle to overcome those all-too-human tendencies.

Book clubs will have much to discuss with themes of solitude, the limits of memory, retribution and redemption. Highly recommended.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great debut mystery August 12, 2008
I was privileged to read a review copy of Amy's novel a few weeks ago. Tethered is a well-crafted story that will leave you thinking, "That could be happening right here in my city." Nothing is as it seems, and you meet a compassionate and remarkable heroine in the strangest place - the embalming room of a funeral home.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An amazing debut - read it in one day October 17, 2008
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Tethered is not a read for everyone. Yet, it is, just told a little differently.
Clara Marsh hasn't had a happy life. She now lives peacefully among the dead - preparing the dead for funerals at a funeral parlor. Her boss and his wife love her as a daughter, but Clara can't seem to reach out and join humanity.
Here comes a little girl, Trecie, who plays and hangs out at the funeral parlor. Something is strangely familiar about the girl - whether Trecie reminds Clara of herself as a child, or of a victim of murder she prepared for burial a few years before. Clara and Trecie form a kind of friendship. A local cop, Mike, whom Clara has a mutual attraction with also is in the periphery of Clara's life.
I read this book in one day. It touched chords in me. Maybe weird curiosity how one prepares the dead - maybe the brilliant way MacKinnon brings her characters to life - you feel their pain, their hopes, the loneliness...
It brought to mind when I was a kid in college taking an art appreciation course - my prof had the class go to an exhibit of a Polish artist. The paintings were so stark it hit you and made a lasting impression. It is this feeling I get from Tethered.
I must say that the cover was what drew me initially to this book. You are caught between curiosity and empathy and you want to see what this book is about.
A brilliant debut. MacKinnon's style is like one of the Mozart works Clara uses to keep her company while she performs this service for the dead - it is heartfelt, captivating, and oh so amazing.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Haunting, edgy, beautiful February 18, 2009
This is a captivating story with a wholly original heroine. Haunting, evocative, emotionally intimate and rendered with tenderness and love, the narrative fills the pages with suspense and daring. The author pushes the envelope by exploring regions of shame, guilt, loneliness, detachment, and death (to name a few) in uncommon ways. The protagonist, Clara Marsh, is three-dimensional, flawed, and memorable. Her small gestures speak volumes and her reticence reverberates. Her relationship to the other characters and the compelling story keeps you turning those pages. Clara's profession as an undertaker provides exquisite material as an extended metaphor. Additionally, it is clear that this first-time author did meticulous research for this novel.

The story develops with character, and character development is propelled by the story. It is finely balanced, and getting to the last page was torture because I did not want to let go of Clara. I gave it four stars instead of five because of some predictable aspects of plot/villian that I don't want to go into--I don't like to give spoilers. However, this is still a deeply satisfying novel that will keep you tethered to it from first to last page. And beyond.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
This is a highly crafted, well-written, grip your emotions and never let them go kind of book. Found in the mystery section, it actually transcends just one category.

It is raw, gritty and gripping and the heroine is a flawed, fascinatingly in-depth woman. Mackinnon crafted an entire set of complex, unfluffy characters and once I began reading this book, I was compelled to finish it in one sitting.

Clara Marsh is an undertaker who is more comfortable with the dead than the living. Badly bruised and emotionally, physically battered from a childhood none should endure, she looks at the world through eyes that have seen too much and a heart that craves to feel very little.

Her boss and his wife provide a haven of stability, and yet as the book progresses, that relationship also becomes tested and tempest tossed.

Clara's emotions are raw when three years prior, she prepared a burial for a beautiful little girl who was horrifically, brutally murdered and, lacking identity was named Precious Doe. When A small waif (Trecie) is found playing in the funeral home Clara sees the warning signs of a child who is badly abused.

From this point forward, the book takes a twisting, turning dark road as Trecie is somehow connected to Precious Doe. As Clara attempts to help Trecie, memories of her childhood are woven in the tale of pain, betrayal and neglect.

A local policeman Mike, who also has his share of tragedy, is like a bee buzzing, pestering Clara to help uncover the identify and killer of Precious Doe and to sew together the threads and pieces of Trecie and Precious Doe in an attempt to prevent a similar fate.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Predictable
Boring and predictable. You will figure out the ending within the first few pages. The author spends too much time being overly descriptive of the scenery and not enough time with... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Jennifer Swickard
2.0 out of 5 stars Did not enjoy...
Good thing about this book - the cover's gorgeous and the reason I picked up Tethered to begin with. The bad things about this book..pretty much everything else. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Nikki Hawkins
5.0 out of 5 stars Phenomenal
I purchased the audio verson. I LOVED this book. Rebecca Lowman is my favorite audio book narrator. It is one of those books where you will think about the characters long after... Read more
Published 9 months ago by JENNIFER
1.0 out of 5 stars What a dumb ,dumb book
You don't believe me when I call this a dumb dumb book?Consider the plot then....
An emotionally battered young woman works in a funeral home embalming and otherwise attending... Read more
Published 14 months ago by Charles H. Levenson
1.0 out of 5 stars inaccurate fiction that tells blatant untruths about undertaking
the first chapter of this novel is so chock-full of inaccuracies in regards to the science and art of embalming, i wonder if the author did any more precursory research than... Read more
Published 16 months ago by haratcliff
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book read this summer
This book was on my reading list for several years, but I only got around to reading it this summer. Of the half dozen books that I read this summer, it was the best. Read more
Published 16 months ago by Maddy
5.0 out of 5 stars AMAZING!!!
I absolutely loved this book. I was easily lost in the story and could not put it down! I finished the whole thing in one sitting. I wish Amy Mackinnon had other books.. Read more
Published 19 months ago by RinaMarie
3.0 out of 5 stars somewhat boring
pretty good, really didn't take on any momentum until the end. Wished it would have been more level throughout. However quite a mystery.
Published 20 months ago by Lauren flack
5.0 out of 5 stars Well written
I enjoyed Ms. Mackinnon's writing style. Quite lovely. The story itself is a bit of a downer but certainly interesting enough to make you want to keep reading. Read more
Published 22 months ago by Anne McAneny
2.0 out of 5 stars Lackluster
I have previously read another book by this author and had the same trouble with this book that I did with her previous one. Read more
Published 24 months ago by J. Neal
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