The Fifteen Wonders of Daniel Green by Erica Boyce

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‘The farm is beautiful at this hour, before the fog has lifted and you start remembering the ways it has betrayed you.’

The small town of Munsen, Vermont is in trouble, a land full of collapsing barns and dead fields await Daniel Green who has been requested by a farmer named Sam. In a plan to bring publicity with his mysterious crop circles, Sam thinks it will be enough to get the ‘young folks’ to stick around, maybe create enough interest to bring outsiders in who will stay to help work the farms. At least, that’s his desperate wish! His plan is a ‘circlers dream’, how can Daniel resist? Daniel knows how to blend in and go unnoticed until he gets his job done, undercover.

Molly is Sam’s wife, struggling with old shame and fear for her husband, not always thrilled about the prospects and ideas Sam has for their farm, but ‘he has a way of sweeping you into his enthusiasm’, this is his biggest project yet. It’s not the struggling farm alone that she and Sam are facing, there are problems that can swallow them whole. Their son Charlie took off for the West ten years ago, bursting in his skin to be free of small town life and all its confines, to shed his father’s expectations, nay- demands. At odds with his father, not interested in farming, choosing a medical career instead, much more befitting his academic success and plans, he knows he doesn’t fit in. Sam sees his choice as a defection to the life he and Molly worked hard for, as if it isn’t ‘good enough’, but it’s a different truth about himself that Charlie believes is the real cause of their rift. Daughter Nessa is home again, wanting nothing more than to work the farm. She and Daniel draw close to one another and soon, both are revealing their pasts and deepest secrets, a relief after keeping hurts close to their hearts for too long. The very things we are shamed into hiding from the rest of the world.

Daniel has been a loner for quite some time now, healing from the wounds of a past relationship, he couldn’t have imagined just how much these strangers and their life struggles will come to mean to him. Nessa may be a bridge that guides him back to his own parents, simply for want of helping her. Is salvation possible? Or is it too late in the game? This is about more than crop circles or farms, it’s about family, love, marriage, illness, fear and hope. It’s how we alienate ourselves and each other simply because of our expectations. Sometimes we assume things about our own loved ones and how they relate to us, running with a fiction that could be wrong. It’s about changing direction and the possibility of staying in one place. These are imperfect people dealing with life altering circumstances. Sometimes the most alien thing is our own feelings.

Publication Date: April 2, 2019

Sourcebook Landmark

 

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