If you know anything about me, I’m passionate about writing and literature. It’s my main creative outlet and love (although creating and appreciating art is so awesome in any form!). I “discovered” a new favorite author and the best part is she’s a Missouri girl and lives in Tiger country! Meet Laura McHugh.
First I want to tell you about The Weigh of Blood. If you’re a Missouri girl, you grew up going to the Ozarks for anything–summer camp, Branson Christmases, 4th of July at the lake, Silver Dollar City, visiting the various state parks and historical and geological attractions, etc. Laura encapsulates all of these things into her prose and setting she creates for her protagonists, Lucy and Lila. You will immediately get a nostalgic, homey feeling. This made it easy for me to relate to the characters even though they have substantially different upbringings and lifestyles than my own.
While the story offers excitement, a mystery to solve, and complex characters to discover, Laura also pulled in the theme of how we define family. She uses many of the urgent political and or societal issues of our culture and time to speak to our emotions. She uses the characters and plot to highlight the issues of human trafficking, education, and caring for the orphans and widows.
If you love thrillers, this book thrilling. There is some more graphic language used to create the scenes for her characters. Laura shows a mastery of using this to further the story and create a story to evoke emotion and empathy for the issues I mentioned above. I respect an author who can use the icky things of life, recreate them in a scene that may trouble your spirit a bit, but it does so to make you think and confront issues of brokenness and evil in our world to bring awareness, help, and healing.
Fair warning, though, you may never want to hike the woods of the Ozarks again.
Laura’s other novel, Arrowood, is equally as enthralling. It follows the history of an old family house across its generations. The story written here causes the reader to question his or her own family “ghosts” and place in the family tree as well as the community around him or her.
If you liked the books by Kristin Hannah or Mary Kubica, pick up Laura’s novels from the library ASAP!
Check out a great Q & A from Shelf Awareness on her first novel, The Weight of Blood. Read with caution if you don’t like spoilers.