ISBN #: 978-0815610427
Page Count: 176
Copyright: September 30, 2014
Publisher: Syracuse University Press
(Taken from Amazon)
Tired of their high school teaching jobs and discouraged by their failed attempts at conceiving a child, Mark and Fran Finley decide they need a change in their lives. Abruptly, they leave their friends and family in suburban New Jersey to begin anew as innkeepers on a secluded lake in the Adirondack Mountains. There they muddle through their first season at the inn, serving barely edible dinners to guests, stranding themselves in chest-deep snowdrifts, and somehow, miraculously, amid swarms of ravenous black flies, conceiving a child, a girl they name Nat. Years later, when Mark and Fran are nearing middle age and Nat is a troubled teenager, Mark's life is ripped apart, forever changed, and he must choose between returning to his old home in New Jersey or trying to rebuild what is left of his life and family in the place of his greatest joy and deepest sorrow.
The Tumble Inn is a moving drama about home and about the fragility and resilience of love.
How many of us at one point in our lives or another have wished to just drop everything and start over somewhere new? Even today, I think some of us feel this way. The majority of us, being the responsible masochistic humans we are, choose to stay in the life we've laid out for ourselves and see where it'll take us. Not Mark and Fran. As soon as Fran saw an opportunity for a life change, she grabbed onto it and wouldn't let go one iota. So, Mark and Fran's life change was really Fran's doing and Mark just went along with it because he felt like there would be no changing her mind.
Their time at the Tumble Inn is somewhat monotonous and boring ... until they have a child. Then it becomes interesting for a short while until returning right back to the standard routine they've worked year after year. One unexpected event, though, changed everything for Mark, Fran, and Nat. Where they go from there is somewhat iffy and undetermined for a long while. Eventually, though, life goes on and difficult decisions must be made.
The overall feel of this book was oppressive. It was told in a narrative from Mark's POV and in a flashback form. Right from the start, you know something's not quite right but you don't know what that is until about three-quarters of the book is over. Personally, I was ready for the novel to be over. I don't mind the relaying of a personal tragedy, but I am not a fan of the entire novel feeling sad. It made me not want to read it, if I were brutally honest, and I almost put it down permanently several times.
*An ecopy of this novel was provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.