What does it take to build a life from broken pieces? For Michelle Shepherd, the question is essential. On the foundations of an erratic and sometimes violent childhood, Michelle has carved out tentative success as an artist in British Columbia while caretaking her elderly father and his expat Vietnam war buddies. Michelle’s father begins drinking and making risky, possibly criminal choices just as she falls in love with a woman named Celeste—two situations for which she has little adult experience and few skills. When grisly evidence of a crime washes up beneath her remote cabin home, Michelle is convinced of her father’s guilt and is forced to a reckoning with family secrets—some she’s kept from others, and some she’s kept from herself. Access to the past opens up new possibilities but also a minefield of difficult choices.
An atmospheric novel firmly rooted in the Pacific Northwest, Shepherd’s Derelict is a portrait of a troubled found family and the sacrifices we make for love.
Paint Creek Press
(publishing as A.G. Bennett)
I love this book!!! I’m eager to read her next one!
I love books that I cannot put down; that I can’t wait to pick back up; that transport me into another world with characters whom I thoroughly fall in love with; characters I do not want to say goodbye to. This book does all of that and more.
Ms. Bennett is uniquely talented in capturing her protagonist’s inner emotional world – in lyrical language that is simultaneously tender, crushing and wickedly funny. And in describing her experience as an artist, the self-doubt, the struggles and the intricate relationship with color. Oooh, I loved it all!
Beautiful writing plunges you into the story
It’s been a long time since I enjoyed a novel this much. I was drawn in immediately by the vivid writing. The characters and setting kept me enthralled to the end. I related very much to the isolated artist and her devoted dog. I loved the Gulf Island setting, and was entertained by the various predicaments Chel finds herself in. The second half of the story takes a darker, gripping turn. I cared a lot about these characters and felt satisfied by the books resolution.
I agree with the other reviewers. This book draws you in and you can’t stop reading it once you get started! The character development is great and you develop a bond with Michelle, who is both tough but fragile. Her life on the island is wonderfully descriptive and so are the the Vietnam War guys who surround her and protect her while she does the same for them.
Can’t wait for another one from Bennett.