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The Tiger in the House Kindle Edition
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Within this very compelling plot, Sheehan introduces us to a cast of fully-etched, lovable (and not so lovable) characters who are realistic, down to earth people whom we could easily know and love in the real world. We get to know them in their every day lives, even as they are being driven by desperate circumstances.
And, as she so often does, Sheehan introduces us to some delightful animal characters as well, without whom the story wouldn’t be as rich. Indeed, the animals are amongst the heroes in the plot. Ahhh, Baxter!
Sheehan brings much more than characters and plot to her beautiful tale. Our noses pick up on the scents of bakeries, the sea shore, fear and comfort. Our ears are reminded of the sounds of ocean waves, sirens, car crashes and children’s voices. Our bodies react to the descriptions of wounds, drugs, the feel of a shower or the sweetest human touches.
And if that weren’t enough, it all comes together with language both poetic and grounded.
Yes, I loved this book. I would have easily read it in one long sitting if my life allowed.
So, if you’ve got a blizzard or a long flight coming, get this book and settle in. Otherwise be prepared to regret having to put it down for even a few hours.
The Tiger in the House followed Delia, a social services worker, who is winding up her last few weeks at work before opening up a bakery/cafe with her younger sister, Juniper or J Bird who were orphaned when they were 19 and 13. Their parents, including their schizophrenic father, died in a fire set, presumably by their dad.
Delia is a compassionate social services worker, caring deeply about the kids she oversees, not wanting any of them to fall through the crack. And that is why she is leaving. Working in the system is hard, seeing kids and their families is tough. After a while, it wears on you. Before she gets too complacent, Delia wants out and what better reason than opening a cafe with her sister Juniper.
Her last case is tough, little Hayley is lost and cannot tell them what she has seen or what she knows, even with the aid of a wonderful foster mom and her delightful cat. She was found covered in blood, 3 bodies left behind in a house not far from where was discovered. Who are they? What were they doing there? Where are Hayley's parents? It is hard to get kids to talk,especially when they are traumatized. Kids regress quickly and Delia and her company have to work carefully in order not to cause the girl more pain.
Helping her is a gorgeous detective Mike Moretti, her boss Ira, and Hayley's foster mom, Erica. If only all foster parents could be like Erica. Foster care would be not quite so bad a place for the thousands of kids that enter into it every year.
While everything with Hayley is going on, Delia's ex boyfriend from childhood, Tyler, has returned. He moved away shortly after the fire and Delia hasn't seen or heard from him since.
Moretti thinks the deaths are related to drugs, sending Delia off on an adventure that will forever change the lives of everyone she knows.
This book is wonderful! Foster care and social services gets a bad rap and this shows the good side of it. Of course there is a bad side but it is not easy work for anyone, the foster parents, the social workers, and especially the kids who have it the hardest of all.
I look forward to reading more of Sheehan's work!
I'm a huge highlighter, thus I share some to whet your appetite as to the author's terrific writing abilities:
"That's what makes tigers so dangerous. You don't hear them coming."
"The path to a real relationship is hard enough, but for those of us who lost parents, we are focused on what we don't have, rather than what we want. We think we're looking for love and we are, but it's the lost love."
"I had to give up longing for something that was gone, so that I could desire something fresh."
"Don't look for what you've lost. Look for what you truly want."
"This was new territory, unexplored by the sisters, honeycombed with shame for wanting to leave their father. The words expanded the walls, bulging out."
"A tributary that had been dammed up with the debris of charred rafters broke open and a ripple ran through her."
"If you talk about their drawing, not their life, suddenly they have the safety and freedom to talk."
"Sometimes when you retell a story, a true story, after not telling it out loud for a long time to an outsider with fresh ears, the story sounds different. New bits show up."
"Or sometimes a new person asks just the right questions to adjust the lens."
"He touched her elbow with one finger, so lightly, but his finger must have landed directly on a meridian to her chest, along the ribs that protected her heart."
"It was hard enough to keep track of human interactions, what with the unconscious lobbing grenades that the conscious mind wouldn't take responsibility for."
"In Maine, the sodium chloride in the air combined with the water in the atmosphere and swirled above the land until a breeze started up farther north in Damariscotta and ran down the coast, pushed by the muscled shoulders of Canadian air, and took the whole murky mess out to sea. Then the ocean opened her throat and swallowed."
Good Reading Group Guide at the end for those who want to add this novel to their Book Club!
I will be exploring other novels written by this VERY talented author!
Most recent customer reviews
Likable, believable characters.
Excellent storyline, easy read. I recommend.