by Karen White
This novel was the September read for the Salmon Third Wednesday of the Month Book Club Meeting. Our discussion was deep and reflected on the characters and story within this book while connecting it personally to our own lives.
At first this may seem like another good summer read, but stepping back from the layers and metaphors of this novel leaves one faced with the complexities of relationships, the price of pain and loss repressed, and the importance of forgiveness and reconciliation. The reader may be encouraged to look at layers of past that have shaped his or her own life while entering into the lives of the characters Karen creates in Flight Patterns or simply come along for the interesting ride and history lessons within.
The story is set in Apalachicola Florida, an idyllic coastal town, that beckons to oystering days of the past. This is a perfect setting for the protagonist, Georgia Chambers, to uncover and face secrets of a past that have kept her and an entire family bound. Georgia left home 10 years ago after a horrific tragedy that shattered her relationship with her sister, Maisy. She has spent her life sifting through the pasts of others as a china expert and fleeing her own, gripped in pain that has fractured her and her family for generations. When research on the Limoges china pattern that belongs to the family of James Graf forces her to return home to Apalachicola she is fearful and totally unprepared to face herself and her family’s history that spans World War II and the present, France and the United States.
The author binds the story together with bee keepers’ journal entries at the beginning of each chapter and utilizes bee metaphors to emphasize human flight patterns and connection of apiaries that hold memories that will help uncover the past. Georgia, thrown back into this setting, will need to embrace her own life – mistakes and all – and find the courage to face a past and secrets that have held her captive far too long. How interesting that bees and china can be a catalyst for such a journey.
Reviewed by Cheryl Mogensen
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