Tessa Bright Wildsmith
“The Way The Crow Flies” is several stories in one. It’s a story of growing up and realizing parents are imperfect. It’s about lost innocence and human morality. It’s about love and protection. It’s also a murder mystery.
The story is based in the early sixties. Eight-year-old Madeleine McCarthy and her family move to a new quiet Air Force base in Canada. Her father, a life-long military man, and her French stay-at-home mother are typical parents to Madeleine. Madeleine’s perfect world is shattered though, when a murder takes place in the small tight-knit community.
Madeleine learns of family secrets and lies. She learns her father, Jack, isn’t the perfect man she always thought he was. She’s forced to come to terms with adult issues beyond her 8 years.
I found the space race and the Cold War filtered through the imagination of young Madeleine, both believable and interesting. The fears, wonders and humors of childhood are captured beautifully.
MacDonald manages to weave several plots into a seamless story of innocence and betrayal. The characters are well developed. They all have a story, and MacDonald tells each one in great depth. There are characters who evoke great sympathy and others you find yourself loathing.
There were a few times in the book I began to get bored, but only for a moment. Soon, the pace picked back up, and I was interested again. Towards the end, the author went a little too heavy into the descriptions of Madeleine’s adult life, and that part could have been shortened. Overall, it didn’t detract from the book though.
One my favorite things about “The Way The Crow Flies” is the ending. I was astonished when all the truths were finally revealed. I do always love to be surprised.
If you’re looking for a quick read, this isn’t the book for you. At 820 pages for the paperback version, it is definitely an investment of time and reading. An investment I found well worth it though.
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