True Places
A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestsellerA girl emerges from the woods, starved, ill, and alone…and collapses.Suzanne Blakemore hurtles along the Blue Ridge Parkway, away from her overscheduled and completely normal life, and encounters the girl. As Suzanne rushes her to the hospital, she never imagines how the encounter will change her—a change she both fears and desperately needs.Suzanne has the perfect house, a successful husband, and a thriving family. But beneath the veneer of an ideal life, her daughter is rebelling, her son is withdrawing, her husband is oblivious to it all, and Suzanne is increasingly unsure of her place in the world. After her discovery of the ethereal sixteen-year-old who has never experienced civilization, Suzanne is compelled to invite Iris into her family’s life and all its apparent privileges.But Iris has an independence, a love of solitude, and a discomfort with materialism that contrasts with everything the Blakemores stand for—qualities that awaken in Suzanne first a fascination, then a longing. Now Suzanne can’t help but wonder: Is she destined to save Iris, or is Iris the one who will save her?

True Places Details

TitleTrue Places
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 1st, 2019
PublisherLake Union Publishing
Rating
GenreFiction, Contemporary

True Places Review

  • Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
    January 1, 1970
    This book was wonderful! Fog hung in the trees, a hush of silvery damp, but the girl could tell the sun would burn through before long and dry the grasses hunched under the weight of dew The cabin stood in a small clearing, and the trees surrounding it had strained toward the heavens for a long time, long enough for the trunks to have become too thick for the girl to enclose them in the circle of her arms, long enough for anyone with decency to fall silent in reverence. The fog had disappeared This book was wonderful! Fog hung in the trees, a hush of silvery damp, but the girl could tell the sun would burn through before long and dry the grasses hunched under the weight of dew The cabin stood in a small clearing, and the trees surrounding it had strained toward the heavens for a long time, long enough for the trunks to have become too thick for the girl to enclose them in the circle of her arms, long enough for anyone with decency to fall silent in reverence. The fog had disappeared as surreptitiously as it has come. The sun was high and all the green in the world was rising toward it. She listened as she climbed, her skin and each of her senses bound together into solid awareness. Everything surrounds her, impinging on her, she felt and knew One day Suzanne had enough; she had to get away from the family and her responsibilities for just a little while so she decided to just drive a little bit. She found a little girl next to the woods and took her to the hospital. This is where the story of Iris truly begins. What happened to her parents? Why did she live in the woods? "People. People want to know things about you. People want you to follow rules. People put chemicals in the water, and ruin good food and hurt animals and waste things that are precious. People won't let you live a simple, good life." She faced him. " I don't need people, and I don't want them." But life is going to take a different turn for Iris because Suzanne can't leave her alone in a world she knows nothing about. Suzanne twisted to look across the treetops and roofs to the rolling hills and the mountains beyond. She imagined Iris wandering along the ridges, drinking from the streams, searching for food, sleeping on the forest floor, untethered and unaccountable to anyone but herself. Now Suzanne imagined not Iris but herself, alone in the woods. The thought made her heart beat faster, and for an instant she wasn't certain whether it was from fear or excitement. I loved how this book had POV's for Suzanne, her husband, two kids and Iris. We get to find out little things about each of them. I loved Suzanne's son, Reid. He was a big cool dude! I hated the daughter, Brynn until the end. And I didn't like the husband, Whit, on and off until the end as well. And I'm so glad this book had a happy ending for everyone. The book had my feel good ending! She finished clearing the plants away and squatted on her heels with one hand on the top of the marker, listening. The wind sighed through the tops of the trees, shifting the pattern of light falling to the forest floor. A pair of dusky-blue butterflies, no bigger than her thumbnail, danced in a shifting column of light, then alighted, first one, then the other, on the damp ground, violet blue against brown, before twirling upward once more. Beyond the clearing, in the undergrowth, a bird kicked through the leaf litter. A towhee. Happy Reading! Mel 🖤🐶🐺🐾 BLOG REVIEW AMAZON REVIEW
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  • Meredith
    January 1, 1970
    Loved this!! “The girl was not simply ill or lost; she was otherworldly.” True Places is a beautifully written family drama that focuses on materialism and superficiality. A family is left in shambles after they take in a 15-year-old who has lived off the grid for her enter life, They must either learn to recognize what’s really important in life or lose each other.Suzanne, a mother of two, is simply existing in her upper-class world in Charlottesville. It appears she has the perfect family--pe Loved this!! “The girl was not simply ill or lost; she was otherworldly.” True Places is a beautifully written family drama that focuses on materialism and superficiality. A family is left in shambles after they take in a 15-year-old who has lived off the grid for her enter life, They must either learn to recognize what’s really important in life or lose each other.Suzanne, a mother of two, is simply existing in her upper-class world in Charlottesville. It appears she has the perfect family--perfect husband, perfect children, and perfect marriage. She spends her time doing charity work and constantly taking care of her husband and children. But Suzanne is not living--paralyzed by fear from an event in her past, Suzanne has learned to avoid conflict. She is physically present, but she’s emotionally stilted. One day she takes a long drive for an escape, and she stumbles across Iris, a 15-year-old girl who has lived her entire life in the forest. Without a mother or a home, Suzanne takes in Iris. Her family is resistant and Iris does not want to be a part of this new world full of excess and unnecessary things.Iris’s appearance exposes the cracks in the perfect facade this family has been hiding behind.Told from alternating chapters, the reader gets to experience the journey and transformation of each character.I really enjoyed True Places. While the plot of a crumbling family is one that felt familiar, the plot surrounding Iris’s character was original. Iris’s character won’t be one I forget for a long time. While the writing was strong, I felt at times, that it was a bit overly preachy and could have used a little more subtlety as the message was pretty obvious. However, I was completely transported by Iris’s journey and loved the chapters told from her perspective. I was moved in the end and became emotionally connected to these characters. I would recommend to those who are looking for a family drama with a unique spin.
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  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    5 Lovely, Lyrical and Marvelous Stars!There are times when there are no words. When you are writing a review and you know that you just can’t do an author’s novel justice. This is one of those times. I was lucky enough to be offered an advanced copy of “True Places” from the author, Sonja Yoerg and of course, I jumped at the chance after having read her prior novel “All the Best People” last year as that book and those characters have stayed with me. The same can be said for “True Places.” Ther 5 Lovely, Lyrical and Marvelous Stars!There are times when there are no words. When you are writing a review and you know that you just can’t do an author’s novel justice. This is one of those times. I was lucky enough to be offered an advanced copy of “True Places” from the author, Sonja Yoerg and of course, I jumped at the chance after having read her prior novel “All the Best People” last year as that book and those characters have stayed with me. The same can be said for “True Places.” There is a beauty in Sonja Yoerg’s words that transcends all else. In “True Places” a young girl named Iris is found on the outskirts of the forest, alone, emaciated and deathly ill. She is brought to a nearby hospital by Suzanne, a pillar of the community. Suzanne is a wife and mother - her husband Whit, and her two children, Reid and Brynn couldn’t function without her. Suzanne is scared for the girl and immediately takes Iris under her wing and together they become a foster family. Iris, having lived on her own in the woods for so many years, does not fit in, not at Suzanne’s, not anywhere but the woods where she came from. When Suzanne took Iris in, she imagined that it would be her helping Iris, little does she realize, it’s Iris who helps her. Who's to say what defines a person? Where you belong and what is right for you? In “True Places,” Sonja Yoerg expresses the ways in which people can be completely different from each other - yet still belong and have a place in this world. The place in which they feel the most comfortable: their “True Place.” Sometimes it’s obvious and sometimes it takes a bit of work to find.What stood out for me after having now read two of Ms. Yoerg’s novels (besides the fact that I need every book she has ever written!) is the fact that she skillfully delves into to the heart of family dynamics, emotions and people in a way that a lot of authors simply cannot. Her words are beautiful, poetic and soulful. In my opinion, this is a character driven novel, each character fulfilling a different role - everyone just as important as the other. This novel and these characters, especially Suzanne and Iris, are ones to cherish. If you have not read a novel by Ms. Yoerg, I can’t recommend her novels strongly enough.A huge thank you to Sonja Yoerg, NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for a complimentary copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Published on Goodreads, NetGalley, Twitter and Instagram.*Will be published on Amazon on release date.
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  • Christine
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars rounded to 5 starsWhat a beautiful story. I have now read all four of Ms. Yoerg’s books, and she never fails to deliver a well-written tale with significant depth. This one focuses on Suzanne, a housewife and mother who is doing the best she can to keep her dysfunctional family rolling on. Her co-protagonist is Iris, a teenager who has lived her whole life in the Blue Ridge Mountains without ever experiencing a “modern” lifestyle. How these two come together and help each other handle 4.5 stars rounded to 5 starsWhat a beautiful story. I have now read all four of Ms. Yoerg’s books, and she never fails to deliver a well-written tale with significant depth. This one focuses on Suzanne, a housewife and mother who is doing the best she can to keep her dysfunctional family rolling on. Her co-protagonist is Iris, a teenager who has lived her whole life in the Blue Ridge Mountains without ever experiencing a “modern” lifestyle. How these two come together and help each other handle their pasts and discover a better way of life is the crux of the story. Having grown up near the foothills of the Smoky Mountains I loved the Blue Ridge Mountain area setting in Virginia. I believe this is home territory for the author. Her descriptions brought back those mountain sounds and smells to me. Gee I miss all the times I spent with my family in the mountains of the southeast Tennessee. I understand Ms. Yoerg is also an avid gardener and plant lover, and her knowledge of the flora of the mountains in her area is clearly demonstrated in True Places. Her descriptive imagery is lovely.There is a lot going on in True Places, but Ms. Yoerg keeps us on track. There are issues between Suzanne and her parents, her husband, and her children despite her efforts to keep things moving as smoothly as possible. Each of her two children have problems, and poor Iris is having a hard time without her family and trying to assimilate into “the real world.” At one point I wondered how all of this could possibly be resolved. I liked the way the author brought things together at the end, though I wished the resolution had been drawn out a little more, hence the withholding of half a star. I must commend the artist responsible for the cover and the author for a perfect title. Not only does the title sum up the story in two words, it is intriguing and original in this age of so many similar (and oh so tired) titles. My first impressions of a book are almost always based on the cover and the title, and this one hauled me in like a mega magnet.I felt for the realistically drawn characters, especially Suzanne, Iris, and Reid. I was pleased Ms. Yoerg didn’t fluff things up with a “perfect”, and thus unrealistic, ending. I would love to visit this family again in ten years to see how things all worked out for them, but at the same time I’m glad the author elected not to have an epilogue. Despite it feeling a tad rushed, the denouement is satisfying just as it is.What I liked most about this novel is that the story made me think. Have I made the most of my life? Am I in my own true place? I highly recommend True Places (and Ms. Yoerg’s other three books) to all readers of contemporary fiction. I await the author’s next offering with great anticipation.Thank you, Ms. Yoerg, for gifting me an ARC of True Places. Opinions are mine alone and are not biased in any way.
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  • Felicia
    January 1, 1970
    MY THOUGHTS AFTER READING THE SYNOPSIS:This is gonna be so awesome. I cannot wait to read about how this child adjusts to her new surroundings. I mean, she has never even seen running water or electricity! What will she think of this new world and how will it change her? How did she even end up in the woods? What made her finally leave the only home she has ever known?Everything I hoped I would find in this book, based on the description, is the complete opposite of what I got.After the death of MY THOUGHTS AFTER READING THE SYNOPSIS:This is gonna be so awesome. I cannot wait to read about how this child adjusts to her new surroundings. I mean, she has never even seen running water or electricity! What will she think of this new world and how will it change her? How did she even end up in the woods? What made her finally leave the only home she has ever known?Everything I hoped I would find in this book, based on the description, is the complete opposite of what I got.After the death of her mother, a child that has been living off the grid in the woods stumbles into the modern world where she is discovered and ultimately taken in by the woman that found her, Suzanne.This story isn't about Iris at all, it is about Suzanne and her shallow, self-serving, unrealistic, cliché caricature of a wealthy entitled American family. I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.This was also an Amazon Prime First Reads choice.
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  • Kendall
    January 1, 1970
    True Places is such an exquisite, emotional, and beautiful story.Sonja Yoerg has an impeccable talent of pouring her beautiful words across the pages with such elegance, love, and inspiration. I fell in love with Sonja's writing in All The Best People last year and her new novel is nothing short of amazing.This novel spoke to me in so many different ways. Yoerg truly shines with her descriptions of the natural world. I was mesmerized with the beautiful words that truly come to light in this nove True Places is such an exquisite, emotional, and beautiful story.Sonja Yoerg has an impeccable talent of pouring her beautiful words across the pages with such elegance, love, and inspiration. I fell in love with Sonja's writing in All The Best People last year and her new novel is nothing short of amazing.This novel spoke to me in so many different ways. Yoerg truly shines with her descriptions of the natural world. I was mesmerized with the beautiful words that truly come to light in this novel. Haven't we all felt at one point or another that we haven't found our "true place" in the world? Ironically, I never found my place in the world until I stepped foot in the world of social work. This story brings to light the complexities and struggles of a family dealing with this thing called life. It's about all of the family members losing themselves and somehow finding what makes them happy. The power of emotion that pours off these pages will truly touch your soul and your heart. "Iris knew that being strong wasn't enough, because life could weigh more then you ever imagined. You had to bend , like a branch laden with snow, arcing toward the earth." Highly highly recommend! 4.5 raw and emotional stars.Huge thank you to Sonja Yoerg, Netgalley, and Lake Union Publishing for the arc in exchange for my honest thoughts.Publication date: 1/1/19Published to GR: 11/10/18
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  • Suzanne Leopold (Suzy Approved Book Reviews)
    January 1, 1970
    Driving along a parkway in Virginia, Suzanne Blakemore notices something on the side of the road. As she moves closer, she realizes that it is a young girl who is malnourished and in need of medical care. After admitting her at a nearby hospital, she finds out Iris is an orphan who has been struggling to survive in the woods.Suzanne is informed that Iris will be placed in foster care if no relative can be located. Without consulting her family, she decides to bring Iris into her household. This Driving along a parkway in Virginia, Suzanne Blakemore notices something on the side of the road. As she moves closer, she realizes that it is a young girl who is malnourished and in need of medical care. After admitting her at a nearby hospital, she finds out Iris is an orphan who has been struggling to survive in the woods.Suzanne is informed that Iris will be placed in foster care if no relative can be located. Without consulting her family, she decides to bring Iris into her household. This has lasting ramifications since nobody else is happy with this decision. Tension starts to build with her husband and two teenage children where the environment had already been spiraling downward. Her husband has a successful career but seems more concerned with work than home. At the same time, her children are growing up and pushing for independence. The arrival of Iris seems like a good catalyst to improve some nagging mistakes from her past. Sonja Yoerg’s novel provides insight into a woman trying to find her true place in the world. People change over time and it takes courage to start on a new path. True Places was an engaging view of complex family issues.
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  • Brenda - Host of Traveling Sisters & Friends
    January 1, 1970
    True Places was not what I expect and I found myself not that interest in the story. The story starts off intriguing with our main character mother Suzanne who has lost herself in her daily life finds herself driving to nowhere. She finds a girl Iris who emerges alone from the woods and takes her in to live with her. I soon started to question who will save who and I really wanted to see some depth to that. I found the story focused more on the dynamics of the family over the depth to Iris who g True Places was not what I expect and I found myself not that interest in the story. The story starts off intriguing with our main character mother Suzanne who has lost herself in her daily life finds herself driving to nowhere. She finds a girl Iris who emerges alone from the woods and takes her in to live with her. I soon started to question who will save who and I really wanted to see some depth to that. I found the story focused more on the dynamics of the family over the depth to Iris who grew up in the woods. There is a lot of everyday drama here with the family and it overshadowed the depth I was looking for. Iris was such an interesting character and I wanted to know more about her. I found myself distracted and wanting to skip over all the drama. By the end, I just lost interest. I received a copy from the publisher on NetGalley.
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  • Cheri
    January 1, 1970
    ”It is not down in any map; true places never are.” Moby-Dick—Herman Melville “Fog hung in the trees, a hush of silvery damp, but the girl could tell the sun would burn through before long and dry the grasses hunched under the weight of dew. The cabin stood in a small clearing, and the trees surrounding it had strained toward the heavens for a long time, long enough for the trunks to have become too thick for the girl to enclose them in the circle of her arms, long enough for anyone with decenc ”It is not down in any map; true places never are.” Moby-Dick—Herman Melville “Fog hung in the trees, a hush of silvery damp, but the girl could tell the sun would burn through before long and dry the grasses hunched under the weight of dew. The cabin stood in a small clearing, and the trees surrounding it had strained toward the heavens for a long time, long enough for the trunks to have become too thick for the girl to enclose them in the circle of her arms, long enough for anyone with decency to fall silent in reverence.” True Places focuses on the disparity between the everyday ins and outs of daily life in the world we live in, and shows the gap between that and the world that surrounds us in nature, the beauty in one, the soul-crushing nature of the tediousness of life day in, day out. The contrast between the two, and the way we react to both of those “places.” Whether you’re like Suzanne, a mother of two teenagers, whose husband who not only adores her, he has a financially rewarding job, which he seems to thrive on, a nice house in a lovely neighborhood, and a relatively carefree life, but still she is a woman who finds no thrill, no purpose in a life spent on things that do not truly bring her joy. ”That was, in fact, what time was: a narrow container for a relentless succession of tasks. The container could not be expanded, but the tasks could multiply exponentially. In fact, tasks were guaranteed to multiply. The law of entropy had undoubtedly been discovered by a mother with two teenagers.” And one day, on a whim, Suzanne’s driving along the Blue Ridge Parkway, enjoying the escape from her day-to-day regular life while inwardly chastising herself, going over the reasons it was a bad idea to indulge this whim. ”Suzanne’s thoughts tumbled along the falling dominoes of broken commitments. She spotted an overlook, pulled off the road, and came to a halt.” ”The foothills tumbled gently down to the valley floor, and undulating expanse, farmland and wood, hazy through lingering mist, still and mute.” When something on the side of the road catches her eye, she pulls over and realizes it’s a person, motionless. She taps the horn, and as this figure moves, she realizes how small this person is, a girl, terrified and trembling. And then the girl faints. ”The girl was not simply ill or lost: she was otherworldly” She drives her to the hospital in Charlottesville, and stays to answer questions, and the more time she spends trying to figure out where this girl came from, how she ended up so frail and bedraggled, where is her family and why aren’t they there – the more she finds herself immersed in the mystery of this girl. A girl who has never known any real modern conveniences, let alone the things that occupy the days of the lives of her two teenagers. When it is time for her to be released from the hospital, and the police can’t confirm the whereabouts of a family for Iris, Suzanne convinces her reluctant husband, Whit, that they should become foster parents for Iris. Where this book shines is in the beautifully descriptive sections shared from Iris’s point of view, whereas the family drama aspect of this story is a bit more familiar and ordinary (First World) problems faced by her two teenagers, who resent the time Suzanne is devoting to Iris – which is not to say that it wasn’t necessary to this story, and to help deliver her point. For me, it detracted a bit from my enjoyment, but not so much that it took away from the overall story. I also loved how this story was shared from multiple points of view, Suzanne, Whit, their teenage son, Reid, who seemed to understand Iris and tries to protect her, while their teenage daughter, Brynn, who seems hell-bent on the elimination of Iris from their home. This was the first book by this author I’ve read, and I owe my thanks to two of my two goodreads friends, Melissa and Melissa, whose reviews prompted me to add this and then to move it to close to the top of my list. Please check out their reviews:https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
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  • Kat
    January 1, 1970
    This was a slow-build at first but quickly turne d into one of those books you just can’t put down. Suzanne, a wealthy mother of two is driving when she discovers a barely conscious girl who’s been living out in the woods. As the chapters slowly unfold, we’re taken through the disconnected lives of Suzanne, her real estate developer husband who’s focused on financial gain, her parents and their dysfunctional marriage, and her children, who have their own set of troubles. Iris, the girl who has n This was a slow-build at first but quickly turne d into one of those books you just can’t put down. Suzanne, a wealthy mother of two is driving when she discovers a barely conscious girl who’s been living out in the woods. As the chapters slowly unfold, we’re taken through the disconnected lives of Suzanne, her real estate developer husband who’s focused on financial gain, her parents and their dysfunctional marriage, and her children, who have their own set of troubles. Iris, the girl who has no one else in the world is such a fascinating juxtaposition to all the excess of Suzanne’s life, to her own spoiled daughter, and as jealousy and tensions slowly spiraled out of control, I couldn’t stop turning pages.This was a lovely story of various character journeys that took me on beautiful walks through the mountains of Virginia and through a fractured family who may have hope of finding each other again. A great read. Please excuse typos/name misspellings. Entered on screen reader.
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  • Linda
    January 1, 1970
    Oh, my......I feel like the wild violet crushed under the heel of the boot in the field. So much promise, so much disappointment.Sonja Yoerg presents a story set gently in the surrounding area near the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's early April and Suzanne Blakemore, mother of two teens, is rushing between Super Mom trips. She delivers, picks up, relocates, plans, and follows through on a daily basis. All in the name of her family and her Booster Club activities. Her husband, Whit, enters through th Oh, my......I feel like the wild violet crushed under the heel of the boot in the field. So much promise, so much disappointment.Sonja Yoerg presents a story set gently in the surrounding area near the Blue Ridge Mountains. It's early April and Suzanne Blakemore, mother of two teens, is rushing between Super Mom trips. She delivers, picks up, relocates, plans, and follows through on a daily basis. All in the name of her family and her Booster Club activities. Her husband, Whit, enters through the front door when all is said and done at the end of the day never realizing what goes on behind the scenes.Stressed and swimming to the surface for air, Suzanne decides to chuck it all and just drive out into the country to disengage. The further out she gets, the more her shoulders relax. She pulls over to the side of the road for a time. Her eyes come upon something laying in the field. It's a young girl who appears to be injured. Rather than wait for help in the middle of nowhere, Suzanne rushes the girl to the nearest hospital.Iris is a sixteen year old who had been living off the grid since she was a child. She's definitely malnourished and considerably underweight. Iris gives limited information to the police and Child Protective Services. Her mother died and her father took off some time back. She's frightened, leery of others, and needs a place to stay. Suzanne has an idea to put forth.And here is where the story takes a turn down a path that I didn't want to venture down. The storyline weaves in the direction of Suzanne, herself, and her malfunctioning family. Iris becomes sidelined and relegated to a shelf taken down when needed. Sonja Yoerg writes in gorgeous prose in the first chapter as we lightly experience Iris before her entry into a new life not of her choosing. It is Iris who should have been the focus throughout with more of her soul searching from past to present. She is a rare character with rare experiences.Instead, we readers are subjected to the insolence of teenagers out of control and clueless parents. The dialogue between mother and daughter is filled with constant snarky remarks and sharp insults with no attempts to shut it down. Yeah, I get it. So real life. I turned the pages for Iris and got nothing but an unpleasant TV sitcom.Sonja Yoerg is a storyteller of stellar proportions. I've treasured all of her books. But this one was a disappointment for me. And even the dreamy ending hitched a star to Suzanne's wagon.....not so much to Iris. I know I stand pretty much alone against a field of 5 Star reviews. It's just my take. See what you think......
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  • Lisa
    January 1, 1970
    A remarkably descriptive novel that will lose you in its emotionally gripping pages.SUMMARYSuzanne Blakemore is hurrying through her busy day, when she spots a figure lying on the road. She stops and discovers a young malnourished girl in need of medical attention. She transports 16 year old, Iris to the hospital and learns that she has been living on her own in the woods for many years. Her mother had passed away in the woods three years ago and her father had disappeared three years before tha A remarkably descriptive novel that will lose you in its emotionally gripping pages.SUMMARYSuzanne Blakemore is hurrying through her busy day, when she spots a figure lying on the road. She stops and discovers a young malnourished girl in need of medical attention. She transports 16 year old, Iris to the hospital and learns that she has been living on her own in the woods for many years. Her mother had passed away in the woods three years ago and her father had disappeared three years before that. Iris was frightened and overwhelmed being in the hospital and wanted to go back to the woods. Suzanne feels a strong connection to Iris’s feelings, and is compelled to help her adjust to life in the normal world. Although Suzanne’s life with two teenage children at home is anything but normal. But the encounter with Iris has changed Suzanne and made her take another look at her own life. “No one gives in without giving something up, and nothing is given up without cost.”REVIEWThe first thing you notice about TRUE PLACES is it’s reverence to nature. Author Sonja Yoerg’s writing is mesmerizingly descriptive. With a PhD in Biological Phychology that’s not surprising. From the first pages you will feel the beauty of the dense and thick woods surrounding Iris’s cabin. And you, like Iris, will yearn to get back there, or perhaps even find your own true place. TRUE PLACES will appeal to women who are juggling with the sometimes overwhelming demands of being both wife, and mother while perhaps losing your sense of self. My favorite part of the book was the expertly drawn character development of Suzanne’s family. You know you are reading a remarkable book when you are captivated by the book’s language and it’s real life relevance. I found myself highlighting quite a few thought-provoking paragraphs. This is a must read book for 2019! “That was, in fact, what time was: a narrow container for a relentless succession of task. The container could not be expanded, but the tasks could multiply exponentially. In fact, tasks were guaranteed to multiply.”“Without the space and the quiet for contemplating, she could not know her own mind, trust her own perceptions, and she was lost.”“Sometimes it takes a stranger to show you what should be obvious, how far you’ve drifted from who you want to be, from what’s right for you, your true place.”Publisher Lake UnionPublished January 1, 2019Review www.bluestockingreviews.com
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  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Since I finished reading True Places on Thursday, I have been thinking very intently about my feelings and thoughts. I have come to the realization that I didn't hate the book, but I didn't fall in love with it either. At first glance, True Places sounds like it will focus on Iris, the young teenage girl that Suzanne finds malnourished and a bit wild. Sure Iris's story is there, but it is more center Thanks to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review. Since I finished reading True Places on Thursday, I have been thinking very intently about my feelings and thoughts. I have come to the realization that I didn't hate the book, but I didn't fall in love with it either. At first glance, True Places sounds like it will focus on Iris, the young teenage girl that Suzanne finds malnourished and a bit wild. Sure Iris's story is there, but it is more centered on Suzanne who seems to have lost her way in the rush of trying to maintain a perfect life. Frankly, this did not bother me because Suzanne is a relateable character. Her husband is oblivious to any family problems, her teenage daughter is distant, a son that has trouble connecting with his father and pressures from her parents wanting to control their grown daughter. Sometimes it takes a stranger to show you what should be obvious, how far you've drifted from who you want to be, from what's right for you, your true place. Sonja Yoerg creates really fascinating characters, but I have to say that Suzanne's daughter, Brynn, and her parents were just awful. They were on my character hate list( Yes, it exists but I have a love list too. It's all about balance). Conflict is an integral part of the stories we tell, but maybe there was too much negative energy weaving in with the central message of the novel to make me ever feel captivated by the narrative.
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  • Melissa Crytzer Fry
    January 1, 1970
    For starters: that cover! It spoke to me immediately. But what is beneath the beautiful artwork is equally delightful. While I have enjoyed all of Sonja Yoerg’s novels, this one has to be my favorite, with its juxtaposition of nature and affluent suburban living. If you enjoy book club and upmarket women’s fiction in contemporary settings – and family drama, replete with difficult teens – this book is a must. The prose is assured and lovely, and where Yoerg shines the most, I think, is in her de For starters: that cover! It spoke to me immediately. But what is beneath the beautiful artwork is equally delightful. While I have enjoyed all of Sonja Yoerg’s novels, this one has to be my favorite, with its juxtaposition of nature and affluent suburban living. If you enjoy book club and upmarket women’s fiction in contemporary settings – and family drama, replete with difficult teens – this book is a must. The prose is assured and lovely, and where Yoerg shines the most, I think, is in her descriptions of the natural world. The foothills tumbled gently down to the valley floor, an undulating expanse, farmland and wood, hazy through lingering mist, still and mute.The colors harmonized within her, melting together like a lazy babble of a stream, the flutter of the wind in the trees, and the excited warble of a bunting.The author’s adoration of the natural world (and subsequent background in biological psychology/animal behavior) as well as her belief in nature’s healing balm spills on to the pages through the characters of Suzanne and especially Iris, an exceptional teenager, whom I loved from the very first pages.I was impressed by Yoerg’s ability to show us, through Iris’s eyes, how little sense traditional society might make to someone ‘new’ to it. From Iris:People. People want to know things about you. People want you to follow rules. People put chemicals in the water, and ruin good food and hurt animals and waste things that are precious. People won’t let you live a simple, good life.” She faced him. “I don’t need people, and I don’t want them.”This book spoke to me loudest in the questions its poses about materialism, overabundance in our society, and the remoteness so many have from the natural world today (as well as the devastating emotional consequences of that removal from outdoor exposure). And, in that sense, I found the character of Iris in this book, and the character of Kya in the recently published Where the Crawdads Sing, to have interesting parallels. While they’re markedly different books, they share thematic similarity regarding commune with nature, and subtle overtones that point out man’s sprawl and historic lack of thought in altering the natural terrain. This book also includes botanical themes (I loved learning about Hydnora and herbalism), and even the name Iris has its own thematic ties – not only to botany, but also to Greek mythology. While the novel covers topics related to parenting and the busyness of today’s lifestyles, it also begs readers for introspection at their own choices.
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  • Judy Collins
    January 1, 1970
    Check out my fascinating Q&A Elevator Ride Interview with Author, Sonja Yoerg. An exclusive “behind the scenes” look behind TRUE PLACES and some fun facts about the author and her latest book. Plus learn what is coming next! Sonja Yoerg returns following All The Best People (2017) with her best yet! TRUE PLACES is moving, emotionally charged and beautifully written story with lyrical prose and tons of heart and soul—discovering our true place in life. For every woman who feels overwhelmed Check out my fascinating Q&A Elevator Ride Interview with Author, Sonja Yoerg. An exclusive “behind the scenes” look behind TRUE PLACES and some fun facts about the author and her latest book. Plus learn what is coming next! Sonja Yoerg returns following All The Best People (2017) with her best yet! TRUE PLACES is moving, emotionally charged and beautifully written story with lyrical prose and tons of heart and soul—discovering our true place in life. For every woman who feels overwhelmed, unappreciated, and has lost a little of herself along the way due to marriage, family, motherhood, and career choices. A road to self-discovery. Readers you will adore the unexpected relationship between Suzanne and Iris! Often it takes a stranger to put us back on the correct path and find our true place. Set in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains (your stress level drops just looking at the stunning cover). If you have ever been to the Virginia Mountains, it is just as breathtaking. Readers are introduced to Suzanne and Whit Blackmore, parents of two teens, Brynn and Reid. We also meet Suzanne’s mother Tinsley (self-absorbed and needy). On the outside this looks like a happy family; however, there is much lacking. Suzanne is a very busy mother and has no time to barely breathe. (we all have been there). She is overwhelmed and needs an escape. One afternoon she takes a drive along the Blue Ridge Parkway. She will drive. Clear her head. Escape. She thinks of all the deadlines and things she must do; however, for a moment this will be hers. No cell service, no texts, and no little bar. (Seems like heaven, right)? Soon she spots a young girl all alone along one of the overlooks, near the wooden railroad tracks, running parallel to the road. The girl looks alone and terrified. All she can say is, “mama.” She only has a backpack with some essential items to survive outdoors. Where is her family? The young girl looks sick and since Suzanne has no cell phone service, she decides to take the girl to the nearest hospital. The girl goes in and out of consciousness. Suzanne is drawn to this young girl. She makes a life-changing decision. Of course, no one in her family can understand why she becomes involved with this homeless girl. Everyone is questioning her in her own family. A woman already extended. However, this young girl named Iris may just be what Suzanne need to find her true self and at the same time a guardian angel for her. Suzanne takes Iris into their home (and her heart) when she leaves the hospital. However, how will this family (one that is so different) be able to handle a young girl who lived in the woods, without all the social interaction? A simple life and one not filled with materialistic things. The dad and the teen daughter are especially materialist. They will have more problems versus Suzanne and Reid, which are more down to earth. We also flashback to 1995 when Suzanne and Whit met and her own childhood. How do choices she made years ago get her to the place she is now? She put her own life on hold to care for her husband’s career and her own family. The conundrum. “Giving too little, giving too much. Subtracting from here, adding there. Caring for your marriage, your children, your parents, your reputation, your future, and if you could manage it, your younger, more idealistic self. This complex calculus was based on theories of love and motherhood, and equations of duty and self-worth. . . She wanted a balanced life but had only guesses, wishes, and fears when what she needed was answers.” There is a mystery surrounding Iris. What happened to her family? Her dad (disappearance), mother (recently deceased), and little brother Ash (appears to be a mystery). A police investigation. A social worker. Suzanne begins to do more digging on her own. In the meantime, there is a war going on in their household with the tension of Iris joining their household. Iris and Suzanne seem to have developed a strong bond. Suzanne is drawn to her and her simple way of life. However, people do not want you to lead a simple life. They think this way is strange. Iris is drawn back to woods. Suzanne must continue to defend herself and Iris. Can Iris survive in this new environment? Can Suzanne continue to survive, living as she has been or is there something new on the horizon which will change all their lives? Being true to one’s self. I loved TRUE PLACES! Yoerg is in her element from the setting (her own backyard) to the complex family dynamics. Thought-provoking, filled with lush scenery, beautiful botanical imagery, themes, strong metaphors, life lessons, and many takeaways. The relation between nature, animals, and humans. Each can be beautiful and dangerous at the same time. Character-driven, the author does an outstanding job with the teen language and each character’s distinct voice. Many readers will relate and adore the ending. I enjoyed the relationship with plants, healing, and modern medicine. I survive on an organic plant-based diet and use herbal teas and plants for healing, taking no prescription drugs. On a side note: There is a project in NC, I consulted with several years ago which strongly reminds me of this story. It offers the setting of a simple life. The property managers told me of the history of the project which is fascinating. Located in the mountains of NC (Flat Rock) —with a combination of vacation rentals, condos, old mill, B&B, and small village little town; old farmhouses, tree swings, porches, lake, mill surrounded by farm animals, and organic gardens, with fresh eggs delivered to your door. It allows your children or grandchildren to get the feel of farm simple living. I was there one week and it snowed. It was like a Hallmark movie scene! TRUE PLACES is a mix of Delia Owens Where the Crawdads Sing, Kristin Hannah The Great Alone, works of Jodi Picoult, and Rochelle B. Weinstein’s Somebody’s Daughter combined with Sonja Yoerg’ s own winning signature style. With the author’s own background to draw from plus her love of nature and gardening, her passion is reflected throughout each page. You will find yourself bookmarking many pages and beautiful phrases. TRUE PLACES reminds me of a time I was visiting in NC, dealing with my elderly parents— I took off one afternoon and drove to Virginia and the Blue Ridge Parkway. Even though I did not meet a young lady, it clears your mind and fills you with peace, and a renewed spirit. I also have fond memories as a child and roadside picnics along the Blue Ridge Parkway. Highly Recommend! Top Books of 2019 List Jan 2019 Must-Read Books A special thank you to the author, Lake Union, and #NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. (The hardcover is stunning and a "must" for your home library collection) Read My Reviews (each has been 5 Stars). 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟TRUE PLACES (2019) JDCMustReadBooks ALL THE BEST PEOPLE (2017) THE MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE (9/2015) HOUSE BROKEN (1/2015)
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  • Kathleen
    January 1, 1970
    Suzanne Blakemore is one harried woman juggling a very full upper middle class life. She feels as if she is the hub of a wheel—allowing the spokes to move while she does not. What she needs is something to shake up her life, and that is just what happens when a girl collapses as she emerges from the woods along the Blue Ridge Parkway right in front of Suzanne. The waif is starved, ill and alone. Suzanne takes Iris to the hospital to recover, but the girl appears to have no family and has been li Suzanne Blakemore is one harried woman juggling a very full upper middle class life. She feels as if she is the hub of a wheel—allowing the spokes to move while she does not. What she needs is something to shake up her life, and that is just what happens when a girl collapses as she emerges from the woods along the Blue Ridge Parkway right in front of Suzanne. The waif is starved, ill and alone. Suzanne takes Iris to the hospital to recover, but the girl appears to have no family and has been living alone in the woods for three years.Yoerg writes poetically about the natural world and through the members of the Blakemore family, illustrates that despite their abundant material wealth; they are missing something true—their place within nature. By moving the point of view from Suzanne to Iris, her daughter Brynn, son Reid and husband Whit; the author lets us see how each of them is changed by Iris’ appearance in their lives. Enjoy!
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  • Darinda
    January 1, 1970
    While out driving, and taking a break from her exhausting life and family, Suzanne comes across a teenage girl. The girl, Iris, is in need of medical attention, and Suzanne rushes the girl to get help. While Iris is in the hospital, it is revealed that she has been living on her own in the wilderness. Suzanne offers to take Iris into her home while the authorities try to locate relatives of Iris. Suzanne’s husband and teenage kids, a son and a daughter, all have different reactions to Iris livin While out driving, and taking a break from her exhausting life and family, Suzanne comes across a teenage girl. The girl, Iris, is in need of medical attention, and Suzanne rushes the girl to get help. While Iris is in the hospital, it is revealed that she has been living on her own in the wilderness. Suzanne offers to take Iris into her home while the authorities try to locate relatives of Iris. Suzanne’s husband and teenage kids, a son and a daughter, all have different reactions to Iris living with them and being in their lives.Told with alternating points of view, this novel focuses on Suzanne and Iris, but also presents POVs from Suzanne’s family – Whit (husband), Reid (son), and Brynn (daughter). Suzanne is dissatisfied with her life, and not really sure where things took a wrong turn. She wants more, and is increasing frustrated with her husband, children, and parents. Iris has lived her life in solitude and has a close connection to nature. Her entire world is turned upside down when she meets Suzanne, and she is faced with a modern life she doesn’t necessarily want to be a part of. Whit works hard and adores his wife, but he has some misguided ideas about what is best for his family. Reid is a bit of an idealist, and butts heads with his parents, especially his father, on what is important. Brynn is a mean girl who manipulates people to get her way, but is also a little lost herself.The characters are a mix of likable and unlikable. The female characters are all better developed than the male characters. I would have preferred a little more depth on both Whit and Reid, because I believe both of them could have been more complex. Ultimately, each of the characters is trying to find their own way and be happy. Some of the character’s decisions and actions comes across as selfish, but some turn out to be uplifting.This was an enjoyable read and one I can think of a few people to recommend it to. That said, the story is mostly predictable and the characters are somewhat stereotypical. Basically, it’s a well-written novel that’s good for fans of contemporary women’s fiction.
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  • Ann
    January 1, 1970
    With all the glowing 5 star ratings lauding “lyrical” and “exquisite” prose, I expected to at least enjoy the writing. Did they read the same book as I did? It starts off well enough - the first chapter made me think it would be worth the effort - but this is a straight-up bad book. It’s a Hallmark movie, it’s a trashy romance novel without the sex or romanace. In other words, a perfect, yet dissatisfied, white lady has a meet-cute (or at least meet-dramatic) and her life is forever changed. And With all the glowing 5 star ratings lauding “lyrical” and “exquisite” prose, I expected to at least enjoy the writing. Did they read the same book as I did? It starts off well enough - the first chapter made me think it would be worth the effort - but this is a straight-up bad book. It’s a Hallmark movie, it’s a trashy romance novel without the sex or romanace. In other words, a perfect, yet dissatisfied, white lady has a meet-cute (or at least meet-dramatic) and her life is forever changed. And everybody lives happily ever after.EVERYBODY is insufferable. The writing is predictable and has so much product placement it’s like the author was getting some kickbacks. There are tropes-a-plenty, including color changing violet eyes!. Now that’s something you don’t see everyday (outside of fantasy and trashy romance that is). This would have been a DNF if not for a reading challenge.
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  • Deborah Blanchard
    January 1, 1970
    This is a beautifully written story about the complexities of life and finding your true place in the world. This is the story of Suzanne, her family and Iris, whom Suzanne found by the side of the road. It is about losing yourself, but then finding what makes you happy. The characters are riveting and vividly portrayed. I was there. I could feel the anxiety, the fear and the joy. The landscape is rich in imagery. You can feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. We all lose ourselves This is a beautifully written story about the complexities of life and finding your true place in the world. This is the story of Suzanne, her family and Iris, whom Suzanne found by the side of the road. It is about losing yourself, but then finding what makes you happy. The characters are riveting and vividly portrayed. I was there. I could feel the anxiety, the fear and the joy. The landscape is rich in imagery. You can feel the wind in your hair and the sun on your face. We all lose ourselves in this whirlwind called life. It is only when we find our true place in the world that we can feel whole. I have yet to find mine, but this book gave me hope. I was captured into the pages of this book and I lived there. Written with exquisite prose, this book will touch your soul. It touched mine. " Iris knew that being strong wasn't enough, because life could weigh more than you ever imagined. You had to bend, like a branch laden with snow, arcing toward the earth." This is my favorite quote from this book. We are all like trees, bending in the wind, reaching for the sun, but what is hidden is the strength of our roots. Thank you Sonja Yoerg and NetGalley for a book that I will always hold close to my heart.
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  • David
    January 1, 1970
    I rate this brilliant creativity 7 stars... I've lived on the edge of the wilderness, so I have witnessed the subtle stirring magic!“Sometimes it takes a stranger to show you what should be obvious, how far you’ve drifted from who you want to be, from what’s right for you, your true place.”Yoerg, Sonja. True Places: A Novel
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  • Krista
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 3 uneven starsIn ‘True Places’, Sonja Yoerg has written a book that unfolds in dual storylines, and then dual perspectives once the storylines merge. First we meet Iris and see her struggle to survive alone in the backcountry of North Carolina after her mother dies and leaves her with a one-room cabin and excellent survival skills. Then we are introduced to middle-aged Suzanne Blakemore who is trying to gain some control over her life. Her day is scheduled down to the minute, and she is Rating: 3 uneven starsIn ‘True Places’, Sonja Yoerg has written a book that unfolds in dual storylines, and then dual perspectives once the storylines merge. First we meet Iris and see her struggle to survive alone in the backcountry of North Carolina after her mother dies and leaves her with a one-room cabin and excellent survival skills. Then we are introduced to middle-aged Suzanne Blakemore who is trying to gain some control over her life. Her day is scheduled down to the minute, and she is pulled in many directions as an archetype suburban Soccer Mom. Suzanne was escaping her relentless schedule for an afternoon when she stumbled across an ill and starving Iris in a parking lot off the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia. She rushes Iris to the hospital, but can’t get her out of her mind. She eventually convinces her husband to let them become foster parents for Iris while the police look for any family that she may have. This is when the true culture clash begins. Iris does not fit in with the other two teenagers in the family. She’d prefer to sleep outside, and is very disturbed by all the noise and huh-bub that comes with modern life.Suzanne continues to be a doormat for her husband and teenagers. She lets her bratty daughter treat her horribly. Pretty much everyone in her family treats her horribly. This lady needs to grow a backbone. Iris struggles to adjust to the family; and to her exile from the wilderness. She spends most of her time alone in her room. With this family, I didn’t blame her for isolating herself. Suzanne eventually has an epiphany, and makes some moves to change her life. She takes Iris on a road trip, and together they cobble together a tentative relationship. They work together to try to solve the mystery of what happened to Iris’ father. They return to undeveloped forests, and with great relief, Iris finally finds herself in her element again. But will the change last? Can the family make the adjustments that they need make to in order to allow everyone to live more autonomously, and find their true place? I’ll leave that for the reader to discover.I’m giving Iris’ portions of the book 4 stars. Suzanne’s story (along with the story if her kids and husband) only rates about 1.5 stars in my opinion. I’m splitting the difference and giving the book 3 stars due to the uneven ride.‘Thank-You’ to NetGalley; the publisher, Lake Union Press; and the author, Sonja Yoerg; for providing a free e-ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Note: This was also an Amazon Prime First Reads choice.
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    “Sometimes it takes a stranger to show you what should be obvious, how far you’ve drifted from who you want to be, from what’s right for you, your true place.” Suzanne is living a life filled with the busyness of being a mom, a wife, a volunteer....all the things that keep her scrambling to keep up with everything that seems vital to her family...but there are cracks everywhere, and Suzanne doesn’t recognize herself in the person she’s become. When she finds a young girl on the side of the road, “Sometimes it takes a stranger to show you what should be obvious, how far you’ve drifted from who you want to be, from what’s right for you, your true place.” Suzanne is living a life filled with the busyness of being a mom, a wife, a volunteer....all the things that keep her scrambling to keep up with everything that seems vital to her family...but there are cracks everywhere, and Suzanne doesn’t recognize herself in the person she’s become. When she finds a young girl on the side of the road, a girl who is sick and alone, a girl who has lived in the woods, Suzanne feels as if she’s found a purpose...but will helping Iris shatter the family she is desperately trying to hold together? The relationships in this book are fraught with conflict and this book is a gripping peek into the challenges, expectations and disappointments. As a reader, I felt like a voyeur, peeking into this honest, many times uncomfortable, portrayal of a family. There is such incredibly beautiful language in each sentence, a delight to read and often a wonder. Woven within the story of this modern family are the most beautiful images of nature and the sights and sounds of the woods, the animals, and especially the plants and flowers. Just as I felt placed in the center of the house, I was equally present in the wilderness. I felt every emotion, every angrily spoken word, every gesture of love and kindness, every feeling of desperation and conflict and hope. Gripping, thought-provoking, and powerful, this book asks as many questions as it answers.
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  • Camille Pagán
    January 1, 1970
    With luminous prose and a story that speaks straight to the heart, Sonja Yoerg has crafted another stunning novel. TRUE PLACES is a beautiful reminder that though we may busy ourselves seeking what we want, what we need has an uncanny way of finding us.
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  • Jeanne Adamek
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 stars
  • Bette Crosby
    January 1, 1970
    Excellent story - well-written and engrossing. This is a story that makes the reader stop and think about the things that hold a priority in your life.
  • Sue
    January 1, 1970
    I have a huge stack of books to read but when I received a copy of True Places, it went right to the top. I have read all of Sonja's books and knew that it needed to be read NOW. WOW - what a fantastic book - I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. It will definitely be one of my top books of the year. The writing is so beautiful that I had to stop several times to re-read and became part of the story instead of just the reader.Suzanne is a wife and mother who has over scheduled her life to ta I have a huge stack of books to read but when I received a copy of True Places, it went right to the top. I have read all of Sonja's books and knew that it needed to be read NOW. WOW - what a fantastic book - I wish I could give it more than 5 stars. It will definitely be one of my top books of the year. The writing is so beautiful that I had to stop several times to re-read and became part of the story instead of just the reader.Suzanne is a wife and mother who has over scheduled her life to take care of her family and lost her own dreams in the harried life that she lives. Not only is she busy taking care of everyone else but her kids are teenagers now - the son kind of a strange quiet boy and the daughter who at 15 takes out all of her problems with life on her mother. She is just nasty to her mother and has no appreciation for her mother as anything but a mother - not as a woman who is trying hard to make life pleasant for her family. Her husband is little to no help - he is too busy making money to get involved in much at home. So here we have a family that looks perfect from the outside but is in the process of imploding. When Suzanne brings a homeless girl who has been living on her own in the mountains into their lives, things take a turn for the worse within the family.All of the characters were so well written that I felt like I knew them. Suzanne was such a fantastic person, realizing that she had lost herself in her busy life but having no idea how to make changes that would make her the person that she used to be who had dreams and plans for her future. It's only when Iris is brought into the home that Suzanne begins to see her life for what it is -- a hamster wheel where she spends all of her time taking care of other people and no one takes care of her or even acknowledges what she does to make their lives easier. Through Iris, she realizes that she has lost touch with nature and solitude and taking care of herself. Will she be able to step out of the whirlwind of her life to find the peace and dreams that she needs to be happy?Along with the wonderful characters, this novel has the beautiful scenery of the Blue Ridge mountains. Sonja describes the mountains so beautifully that I felt like I was in the woods with peace and quietness around me.This is an exquisitely written wonderful novel about family and love and following your dreams. It really is a must read for everyone! It's a book that I won't soon forget.Thanks to the author for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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  • Holly Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    I was given an early copy of this book for review, and although I finished it weeks ago, I'm still thinking about it. Even without the fast-paced plot, which tells the unique story of what happens when a wealthy suburban woman discovers an orphaned girl who has been living in the woods most of her life, this is an unforgettable novel. That's largely because the writing is so hauntingly beautiful, particularly when Yoerg, who carved out a career in animal behavior research prior to becoming an au I was given an early copy of this book for review, and although I finished it weeks ago, I'm still thinking about it. Even without the fast-paced plot, which tells the unique story of what happens when a wealthy suburban woman discovers an orphaned girl who has been living in the woods most of her life, this is an unforgettable novel. That's largely because the writing is so hauntingly beautiful, particularly when Yoerg, who carved out a career in animal behavior research prior to becoming an author, writes about the natural world. Check out this description: “Even the birds had grown quiet, carelessly leaving molted feathers behind like sleepy people shedding clothes on their way to bed, except for the blue jays, who only got noisier, and the doves, who mourned each dawn as plaintively as the last.” In addition, this book will force you to reexamine your life choices, especially if you're one of those “crazy busy” parents who often does things because they are expected of you, not because you feel they are valuable or true. Yoerg really gets the cultural forces at work on women, especially, who struggle with balancing family, work, and personal responsibilities with spirituality in the form of being connected to the natural world. Oh, and as an added plus, there are some very, very funny moments in this novel, especially in the scenes with the suburban teenage daughter, who takes sarcasm and eye rolls to a new level.
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  • Joyce
    January 1, 1970
    Too irritating to finishThe premise was intriguing, but the characters were so annoying I dreaded picking the book back up. Life is too short to waste reading about shallow, self-serving people.
  • The Lit Bitch
    January 1, 1970
    I have been long impressed with Yoerg’s novels and when she has a new one come up, I am always happy to review it! One of the things that I love about Yoerg’s books is that they are standalone novels and the character arcs are wrapped up in the book rather than stretching it out to multiple novels.She writes strong and impactful stories that leave readers satisfied with a resolved story that will stand out in the readers minds. This latest book is no different—a strong and memorable plot the lef I have been long impressed with Yoerg’s novels and when she has a new one come up, I am always happy to review it! One of the things that I love about Yoerg’s books is that they are standalone novels and the character arcs are wrapped up in the book rather than stretching it out to multiple novels.She writes strong and impactful stories that leave readers satisfied with a resolved story that will stand out in the readers minds. This latest book is no different—a strong and memorable plot the left me wanting more yet left me feeling satisfied by the resolution.This novel addresses a lot of important and themes that I think women readers will relate to…..difficult families, marriages, and children, as well as finding yourself and finding your place in your world. Many of her book dwell on the same subject but in different and unique ways—-and they never get old.Yoerg’s ability to write realistic and honest characters is mesmerizing. That to me is one of the hallmarks of her writing style. Suzanne was very much at the center of her family, but who is she really? So many people in her life have projected their issues on to her that in the process she has lost herself and who she really is. Her losses and insecurities felt so real and haunting to me. This book, though serious and heart wrenching in content, left me feeling satisfied with its ending. I won’t give it away to anyone, but let’s just say I thought about this book long after I finished it.I loved how much the landscape factored into the plot as well. The Blue Ridge Mountains is an area that I am not very familiar with so the have is described so elegantly and with such knowledge was unforgettable. The landscape kind of took on it’s own role in the story and I loved that about this book. It was a great tool to foreshadow the novel when it needed it.Also the Blue Ridge Mountains are front and center with the cover and I thought the cover art captured how important the landscape was to the narrative. This is an enchanting cover and the artist who designed it did a fantastic job capturing the heart of this novel.I have read all of Yoerg’s books and its so hard to pick a favorite, but I must admit that this one is at the top of my list. If you haven’t discovered Yoerg, you need to add her books to your TBR list and I would say start with this one, it really shows off her ability to create memorable, relatable, and haunting characters.See my full review here
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    I was originally planning on reading this on a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway, but unfortunately that trip never panned out. True Places would have been the perfect book to bring along on my travels. Set in the mountains and rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we find a devoted mother at her wits end, and a young girl found on the edges of the wild. Incredibly malnourished, sick, and frail for her 16 years, Iris is found by Suzanne, a mom who presumably has everything, but is lacking some I was originally planning on reading this on a trip to the Blue Ridge Parkway, but unfortunately that trip never panned out. True Places would have been the perfect book to bring along on my travels. Set in the mountains and rolling hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains, we find a devoted mother at her wits end, and a young girl found on the edges of the wild. Incredibly malnourished, sick, and frail for her 16 years, Iris is found by Suzanne, a mom who presumably has everything, but is lacking something.Their stories collide, bringing the solitude of one and an extreme loneliness of the other together. Two similar, but incredibly different feelings, you start to wonder who is helping the other more. The setting descriptions and character development of True Places were exceptionally well written. So well in fact, I wanted to take Suzanne’s teenage daughter and give her a firm talking to, a grounding, and a removal of phone privileges. I may have also wanted to smack some sense and backbone into Suzanne, but her story unfolds as it should. She needed to discover everything on her own, without my help, throughout this novel. Yoerg writes a family that is true. A family that is real. Life and marriage and kids aren’t always perfect, and sometimes- you just need to take a drive. Who knows what you might discover when you hit the road. I was provided an advanced copy of this book. All opinions are my own.
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