>Sunflower Forest by Torey Hayden

>OK first, for those of you who follow my reading lists I keep on this blog, I created the new one for this year a few minutes ago.  And because this is the third year I’ve kept these list I did it a little differently.   The list of pages was getting a little crowded!

Instead of adding a “books in 2009” link/page I removed the books in 2007 and books in 2008 links and created a “book list” page.  That page has the current years list and I’ve moved the earlier years to link off of that page.  So everything is still there but ordered differently.  Wordpress makes things like that so easy.

The first book I’ve read this year is Sunflower Forest by Torey Hayden which I asked my sister to get me for Christmas.  I was excited when I saw it in Sainsburys as I didn’t know it was coming out.  It took a lot of willpower for me to leave it on the shelf and ask for it for Christmas rather than snap it up there and then.  Which is why this is the first book I read this year rather than the last one I read last year.

Torey Hayden has written a lot of  true life books about her work with troubled children and teenagers.  You find them in that stupid section of waterstones known which is labelled “painful lives.”  And that’s how I got into her books.  I really like those sort of books but do find the “painful lives” label to be somewhat wrong and I don’t really like it.  Sunflower Forest, however, is a novel.

It’s a really good book and it was worth the wait.  It deals with the human side and long lasting affects of the horrors suffered by the MC’s mother during WWII and how these affect the MC as a result.  It’s a period of history that interests me and so I like reading fiction about it, particularly that which deals with the human and living sides rather than the business of the war so to speak.

For a long time in the middle of the book I was sure I could see exactly what was going to happen.  I thought it was really obvious.  But that turned out to be something of a red herring because whilst two of the things did happen, they happened in completely different circumstances to what I anticipated and  both took the plot in totally different directions to what I had imagined.  I love books that surprise me!

It’s hard to compare all of her books and decide which I like best as they are all really good in their own way.  I probably preferred her previous fiction book Overheard in a Dream (also published as The Mechanical Cat in some countries) slightly more than this one as it ends with no real answers which is a little  disappointing.  I suspect however that if I wasn’t so tired right now and hadn’t literally just finished it I might have “got” the ending a bit more.  I will probably reread the last chapter or so tomorrow.  This one  really is worth the time and money tho – I loved it and it kept me guessing and i struggled to put it down each time I picked it up.

The only real problem with this book is that it made me go to the offical Torey Hayden website and see if she’s written anything else I’ve not read (just a YA book which I don’t think is available here).  I’ll definitely buy that at some point if I can.  But in the meantime I really want to re-read my copies of  her other books especially One Child and Tiger’s Child (the ones about Sheila).  And that’s a bit of a problem because I have so many other books to read now after Christmas and my birthday !!

EDIT: Thanks to a comment from Tash I just found out that several of these books were printed with the ending (final page) cut off… and mine is one of them.  Having just read the actual last page as it appear on Torey’s site  it makes more sense now and I now like how it ends.

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