Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Date of Publication: July 9th, 2019
Genre: Historical Fiction
With the writing chops of Ian McEwan and the story-craft of Lisa Wingate, Karen Kelly weaves a shattering debut about two intertwined families and the secrets that they buried during the gilded, glory days of Bethlehem, PA.
A young woman arrives at the grand ancestral home of her husband’s family, hoping to fortify her cracking marriage. But what she finds is not what she expected: tragedy haunts the hallways, whispering of heartache and a past she never knew existed.
Inspired by the true titans of the steel-boom era, Bethlehem is a story of temptation and regret, a story of secrets and the cost of keeping them, a story of forgiveness. It is the story of two complex women—thrown together in the name of family—who, in coming to understand each other, come finally to understand themselves.
Joanna Collier has reluctantly moved to her husband’s childhood home in Bethlehem, PA. What Joanna doesn’t know is that there are secrets that have laid dormant. Secrets that could tear her family apart.
I almost didn’t accept the invite to review for Bethlehem. The blurb didn’t sell the book. I also decided to read some of the reviews on Goodreads before making my decision. What made my decision for me was the cover. I thought it was beautiful.
I thought that Bethlehem was well written. The author did a great job of bringing the characters to life. The writing was descriptive and drew me right in. I love it when a story does that.
My issue with the book fell with the characters. While they were well written, I couldn’t connect with them. I must connect with at least one character in the book.
I did like the plotlines. I thought that they were well written and flushed out. I was able to immerse myself in the plotline. I also liked the dual plotlines.
There were dropped storylines and characters that seemed to disappear. The storyline that I am referring to was the one with Daniel and Joanna. I did think that it was going in a specific direction. Then it was dropped, and Daniel was never heard from again. Drove me nuts. I needed to know what happened to Daniel!!
I didn’t like Joanna. She didn’t try to cultivate a relationship with Savannah or Hedy. She kept to herself. She pursued a relationship with Daniel instead of focusing on fixing the one with her husband. She flipped out when Gigi gave the kids their Christmas presents. Her attitude was horrible. She did start to change about halfway through the book, but I couldn’t change my view of her.
I did figure out what was going on with Susannah about halfway through the book. I did think that it was sucky what she did to Wyatt. But, at the same time, she did remain true to herself.
The end of Bethlehem didn’t sit well with me. It seemed rushed. Joanna’s change of heart was not believable. I did like how the author brought together the main storylines. That wasn’t rushed.
I would give Bethlehem an Adult rating. There is sex (mentions of it, nothing graphic). There is not language. There is mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.
I am on the fence if I would reread Bethlehem. I am also on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends. I would read other books by the author.
I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Bethlehem.
All opinions stated in this review of Bethlehem are mine.
Have you read Bethlehem?
What are your thoughts on it?
Would you be able to uproot your life for your SO?
Let me know!!