The Quickening

"Debut novel" is always an interesting descriptor for a work. Previously, I was very neutral on the words.  If anything the label was only an assurance that I wasn't being introduced to an author mid-series.  In the past year though, I've found myself very impressed with debut works and have become a fan of several new writers as their careers have just begun to blossom.  One such author is Michelle Hoover and her first novel The Quickening is an elegantly written historical fiction that reveals the pen of a masterful writer.

Enidina (Eddie) Current and Mary Morrow are the neighboring women and alternating narrators of Michelle Hoover's debut novel The Quickening. Drawn together in the sparse farmlands of the Midwest in the early 1900's, Eddie and Mary have a relationship based more on mutual dependency rather than on their similarities. As the years pass, the reader sees both women grow and change through the seasons - spring innocence, the growth of summer, decay of fall, the harsh unforgiving winter - and the story is about the land as well as those who call it home.

The novel was told in a unique manner, and Michelle Hoover plays freely with the time-line. Through snapshots of their lives, the tale jumps in and out of the memories of the dual narrators, and events are hinted at long before they are revealed which keeps the pace of the book rolling smoothly. The setting was remarkably vivid and reveals Hoover's expertise at historical research. Poignant and intriguing, The Quickening was a unique novel that perfectly captures the complexity and richness of the Midwest in the early twentieth century.
I'm curious what others think about seeing a book labeled "debut novel".  Does it act as a persuader or a deterrent to new readers?  Do you see "debut" and think of the work as a fresh new voice to hear or do you consider that perhaps you don't want to take a chance on a new author?

And stay tuned this week for my blog interview with Michelle Hoover!

(An Advance Review Copy of this work was provided through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers program.
This review represents my honest and unbiased opinions about this work.)

2 Response to "The Quickening"

  1. Ellen Stewart (aka Ellie/El) says:
    July 27, 2010 at 12:43 PM

    Honestly, the only bad thing about a "debut" novel is if it's good, the author has nothing else published to read!

  2. Melissa says:
    August 5, 2010 at 4:07 PM

    I never judge a book by the words "debut novel." If it's good writing then that's all I care about.

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