Anni’s childhood comes to an end the day her uncle rapes his sister, then witnesses her uncle murdering her father in a confrontation about the attack. Sunny and her mother move in with her grandparents, who are themselves grieving the loss of their two sons, but in different ways. Vaughan tries to comfort Anni and her mother, but Princella seems to think everything is the fault of Anni’s father.
The story is told from the viewpoints of Anni and Comfort, Anni’s aunt. It’s written in first person, but the two viewpoints are so different there is no chance of confusing them. Anni is thirteen, so her scenes are filtered through her adolescence and first love, while Comfort’s scenes are bleak to begin with, but thaw as the novel progresses, as she begins to hear from God and accept his healing.
How Sweet the Sound isn’t a light read. It moves between the present and the past, and as we read, we learn more about the histories of the characters and the events that have shaped them into the people we see. I have to say that I didn’t think a teenager (Anni) should be exposed to some of these facts, but she’s had to grow up fast. Princella was a fascinating character, one I find difficult to understand even now.
This is the debut novel from Amy K Sorrells, and I’ll certainly be keen to see what comes next. Her writing is excellent, particularly the feel of her words and her use of imagery, and she dealt with some difficult subjects in a sensitive manner. Worth reading.
Thanks to David C Cook and NetGalley for providing a free book for review. You can find out more about Amy K Sorrells at her website.