I have been working with Caitlin for years with book reviews. The books she offers me for review are unique and often turn out to be favorites. I was thrilled to learn that Caitlin had published a book of her own and was honored that she asked me to read it. A copy of To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts was sent to me at no charge for my honest review.
About To Lay to Rest Our Ghosts:
In these ten elegantly written short stories, Caitlin Hamilton Summie takes readers from WWII Kansas City to a poor, drug-ridden neighborhood in New York, and from the quiet of rural Minnesota to its pulsing Twin Cities, each time navigating the geographical boundaries that shape our lives as well as the geography of tender hearts, loss, and family bonds. Deeply moving and memorable, To Lay To Rest Our Ghosts examines the importance of family, the defining nature of place, the need for home, and the hope of reconciliation.
About the Author:
Caitlin Hamilton Summie earned an MFA with Distinction from Colorado State University, and her short stories have been published in Beloit Fiction Journal, Wisconsin Review, Puerto del Sol, Mud Season Review, and Long Story, Short. She spent many years in Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Colorado before settling with her family in Knoxville, Tennessee. She co-owns the book marketing firm, Caitlin Hamilton Marketing & Publicity, founded in 2003.
Learn more at caitlinhamiltonsummie.com
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The ten stories in this book are not related. Then again they are in some ways in that they share an overall tone. I will be the first to admit that short stories and I do not get along. They seem to exist somewhere above my head and I always feel like I am missing something. I’ve written it before – I just don’t think I’m smart enough for short stories. Or maybe smart enough isn’t the right phrase, perhaps it’s insightful. I tend to be a very literal person.
I will note that I enjoyed reading the stories in this collection which is a change from other short story offerings I have reviewed. Not that I fully understood what was going on but it didn’t seem to be as necessary. The writing is just lovely. It flows in beautifully descriptive ways bringing the reader completely into the environment in very short order. I truly respect an author that can do this in so few pages.
Whether it was the sadness of a war death or the brutal cold of a Minnesota winter I felt what the characters were feeling and found myself crying on more than one occasion even if I didn’t fully understand why. Such is the power of Ms. Summie’s words. If you enjoy introspection and short stories I am sure you will love this book. It certainly made me think about some of the characters long after I had finished the last story.
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