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Things We Set on Fire [Kindle Edition]

Deborah Reed
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

A series of tragedies brings Vivvie's young grandchildren into her custody, and her two estranged daughters back under one roof. Jackson, Vivvie’s husband, was shot and killed thirty years ago, and the ramifications have splintered the family into their own isolated remembrances and recriminations.

Sisters Elin and Kate fought mercilessly in childhood and have avoided each other for years. Elin seems like the last person to watch her sister convalesce after an attempted suicide. But Elin has her own reasons for coming to Kate's side and will soon discover Kate’s own staggering needs.

This deeply personal, hauntingly melancholy look at the damages families inflict on each other—and the healing that only they can provide—is filled with flinty, flawed, and complex people stumbling toward some kind of peace. Like Elizabeth Strout and Kazuo Ishiguro, Deborah Reed understands a story, and its inhabitants reveal themselves in the subtleties: the space between the thoughts, the sigh behind the smile, and the unreliable lies people tell themselves that ultimately reveal the deepest truths.

Product Description

About the Author

Deborah Reed is the author of the novel Carry Yourself Back to Me, a Best Book of 2011 Amazon Editors’ Pick. She is also the author of the bestselling thriller A Small Fortune and its sequel, Fortune’s Deadly Descent, written under the pen name Audrey Braun. All three novels have been translated or are forthcoming in German. Deborah holds a master of fine arts in creative writing (fiction) and teaches at UCLA’s Extension Writing Program, as well as workshops and conferences around the United States and in Europe. She lives in Los Angeles, California.

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3472 KB
  • Print Length: 260 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (1 Dec. 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00D237QBS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #105,154 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Deborah Reed comes from a long line of storytellers and musicians and finds creative inspiration in the composition of alt-country, folk, and homespun goods. Carry Yourself Back to Me is her first literary novel. She currently resides in the Pacific Northwest, where she also writes suspense fiction under the name of Audrey Braun.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very moving tale of a non traditional family 22 Feb. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.........

Vivvie is woken in the middle of the night by a phone call from local police, asking her to come and collect her two grandaughters. Her youngest daughter, Kate, is in the hospital and there is no one else to mind the little girls. Vivvie is no stranger to heartbreak as we discover early on in this book. She is a widow, with two estranged daughters and now is landed with two young girls she barely knows and she contacts her other daughter, Elin for some help. All is not what it seems though and the two women discover that Kate's disappearance from their lives may have had a hidden agenda.

The author blends parts of the past with the present and we can begin to form a picture of the girl's lives growing up with their widowed mother and all that it entailed. Sisters can clash at the best of times, but the loss of their father at an early age, shaped their personalities for the future. Both stubborn and self preserving, they chose to remove themselves from their mother's life and try to be individuals in their own right. When Kate is hospitalised, the women are forced to examine their current situations and assess their priorities.

This is a novel of feeling. Beautifully written with some wonderful prose, harrowing at times, but all with a view to exploring the meaning of family. Split into four parts, it has short chapters, is very easy to read and it is over before you know it. I loved the whole feel of a non- traditional family and how a moment of misery can sometimes bring change you could never expect. Well worth reading.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A compelling and moving story 19 Jan. 2014
By Amanda Jenkinson TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
Vivvie lives estranged from her two daughters. One night she gets a call to say she needs to go and collect her two small granddaughters after their mother Kate's suicide attempt. Needing support she phones her other daughter Elin, who agrees to come to her mother's aid. These three women, linked by their past, by events that have never been talked about and by feelings that have remained unspoken, now have to face that past that has driven them apart and to find some sort of forgiveness and reconciliation - if they can.
This synopsis makes the book sound fairly ordinary and banal, but it is anything but. The writing is powerful, the descriptions vivid - I could feel that Florida heat and humidity - the characters well-developed, not always likeable and certainly flawed, but always authentic, and the storyline expertly controlled. The secrets are gradually revealed leading to a complex and suspenseful narrative that fully engages the reader. Told in such a way that it is easy for the reader to jump to conclusions but as the layers are peeled back we are constantly reminded that in real life and real families things are rarely straightforward and we are constantly having our assumptions overturned.
I loved this book and found it memorable and very moving. It's an engrossing examination of one particular family but with a resonance for all families, and is both thought-provoking and compelling. Highly recommended.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars What a strange ending 21 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
this was a painful story, sad and very human in its understanding of human responses. find,t much care for the ending felt l was left hanging, which is sad as overall it was not a bad read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars VERY powerful book 14 Mar. 2014
By Bev
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Bought this book on the strength of the first page - absolutely gripped me from the beginning. The way that the story unfolds is brilliant, drawing you into the lives of the characters and what a subject !!!! And how perfectly depicted .
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful 19 Mar. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
This is an emotionally charged book which had me in tears on occasion. So powerful and emotive, this gripped me and lingered with me for a long time after I'd read it. I know I will read this again and soon.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Things we set on fire 20 Jun. 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Only fair not my cup of tea but of course we are not all alike so it will appeal to may readers
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great read 22 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Easy to read with a great storyline. Unexpected twists to the story. Strong characters that come alive and can be related too. Some very touching moments. Would recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Unexpectedly beautiful 18 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this exploration of relatively unattractive personalities. The development of relationships is insightful, playing with the reader's sympathies at times so that even where you don't like a character you want to know what hapens to them. There is some exquisite writing.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A moving novel
A moving novel with good characters worth reading
Published 8 days ago by Jacqui
5.0 out of 5 stars Top book.
Fantastic read.
Published 3 months ago by Miss R
4.0 out of 5 stars Family
A very real story of love and family ties. Really deals well with all that is grey and the hard decisions mistakes and guilt that makes and brakes us and our relationships.
Published 3 months ago by Jo
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable
I enjoyed this book, reminded me a little of an A E House novel. It's about a family who drfited apart and got back together. What's not to like? Read more
Published 7 months ago by iloveshoes
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Good read
Published 8 months ago by Mrs T.R.Phillips
3.0 out of 5 stars Fails to ignite any passion.
In 1974 Vivien Fenton aims her rifle sight at her husband’s head and shoots.
Thirty years later Vivvie, as she is known, gets a call from the Orlando police department to let... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Christopher Sullivan
4.0 out of 5 stars A poignant tale
The storyline goes back and forth from the present to the past in a logical manner. The characters are believable and there is a sadness about the family but also hope.
Published 11 months ago by Mrs. V. Thomson
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting tale of a family in crisis
As this story unfolds, you become aware of a dark secret that has had repercussions for all family members. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Alice Anagram
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read.
A story of family and secrets. The secrets, of course, have consequences and affect the family relationships. They get resolved - but too late for some.
Published 12 months ago by sally w
4.0 out of 5 stars A Good Read..
I really enjoyed this book, as it flowed well, and the ending was not too predictable. The characters were believable - I would certainly try another of Deborah Reed's books.
Published 12 months ago by Liz D
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