Monday, February 4, 2019

Book Review: True Places: a Novel by Sonja Yoerg

True Places: A Novel by Sonja Yoerg
I chose True Places as my Amazon First Reads pick a month or so ago. I had not previously heard of the author, Sonja Yoerg. I chose the novel because of the setting: the area on and around the Blue Ridge Parkway. I could relate with many parts of this story and with several of the characters. The story kept my attention and I wanted to find out what would become of the woman, her family, and the wild child she found along the road.

True Places by Sonja Yoerg

This is a tale of country life, suburban life, and what may happen when the two are combined. 

The country story begins with a child living alone in a remote cabin in the forest with her mother. Tragedy strikes. 

The suburban story begins with Suzanne Blakemore, an over-extended mom, wife, and fundraising organizer extraordinaire. Feeling the pressures of too many commitments and too little time, forty-two year old Suzanne impulsively drives her Navigator (full of the over-powering scent of the hyacinths she is transporting for the Boosters auction) away from it all.

While driving at a break-neck speed on the Blue Ridge Parkway, she finds a sick and emaciated child. After hospitalization, that child - who turns out to be a very small 16 year old - joins the Blakemore family. We hold our breath at times as we watch Mr. Blakemore and his son, Reid, butt heads. And we watch as the Blakemore's daughter, Brynn, is guided by adolescent emotions, peer pressures, and social media. Social media - where mocking and bullying occurs by the minute and no one is immune - especially not the "wild child". 

Will this family be able to blend or will tragedy strike again? 

My prediction was that the author would portray one setting and it's inhabitants as better than the other. One group of people right. And the other group wrong. I would have put money on the story being about the civilized suburban folk saving the poor country bumpkins.  I was pleasantly surprised that the author showed the good, the bad, and the ugly of both worlds. 

The moral of the story is about the difference between doing things because they are the expected things to do and doing the things that make us feel right. It was about finding our True Places and our true selves. 

Amazon First Reads

Amazon First Reads is a program through Amazon in which each month a book from a selection of approximately 6 books are offered for free (for Prime members) or a reduced cost for First Reads subscribers. On the 1st of each month, I choose a book from those books are offered. 

I have found some new-to-me authors that I probably would not have read otherwise. I can't say that I've liked all of my First Reads picks, but I can say that I look forward to the 1st of each month and have found some authors that I will watch for in the future.

First Reads is one of many reasons I continue to renew my Amazon Prime membership. 

Image credit: photo courtesy of Fotojet

Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


  1. Excellent book review, Dawn Rae. Having lived briefly on the edge of the Blue Ridge Mountains, I am somewhat familiar with the setting, and the storyline sounds fascinating.

  2. Wow! Now, I am sorry that "True Places" was not the book I selected as my free choice. Clearly, I need to read it. I'm glad the author doesn't favor one culture over the other. It has to be a better representation of what people everywhere are like. Even without social media, bullying and social stratification is a problem, and that includes in remote areas. Thanks for the excellent review and recommendation Dawn.

  3. This sounds like an interesting story for sure. I like it when you see both sides of a story and not just a one sided "I'm right, You are wrong" kind of tale. Thanks for this review, I am now adding it to my list of must reads.

  4. Sounds like a fascinating read with lessons. From what you said the book seems to have captured that no matter where we come from, life has it's challenges. I like to think we are here to grow and to learn and where we live doesn't shield us from whatever those lessons are to be.

  5. I have to echo Cynthia here. After reading your review, I'm also sorry I didn't pick this book. I haven't yet read the book I did pick. I believe I really would have enjoyed reading this book. I can relate to the plight of the child and the desire Suzanne had to take the child under her care. I like books that make me think, and this one would do just that.

  6. I, also, selected True Places as my first read through Amazon Prime. I'm a member of an online group through which I have gotten to know this author. She is not only an excellent writer, but is also a wonderful, and very interesting individual. There were many things I appreciated about True Places. You have mentioned most of them. My worry was that the family was going to ruin the true essence of the young woman they "rescued." I was very glad that things worked out in the end. There is a real warning there for those of us who tend to see ourselves as rescuers. It is very easy to step over the line between what we want for an individual and what they want, or need, from their own perspective. We must honor an individual's identity and true nature.


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