Book Review | The Cradle by Patrick Somerville
Title: The Cradle: A Novel
Author: Patrick Somerville
About the Book:
Early one summer morning, Matthew Bishop kisses his still-sleeping wife Marissa, gets dressed and eases his truck through Milwaukee, bound for the highway. His wife, pregnant with their first child, has asked him to find the antique cradle taken years before by her mother Caroline when she abandoned Marissa, never to contact her daughter again. Soon to be a mother herself, Marissa now dreams of nothing else but bringing her baby home to the cradle she herself slept in. His wife does not know-does not want to know-where her mother lives, but Matt has an address for Caroline’s sister near by and with any luck, he will be home in time for dinner.
Only as Matt tries to track down his wife’s mother, he discovers that Caroline, upon leaving Marissa, has led a life increasingly plagued by impulse and irrationality, a mysterious life that grows more inexplicable with each new lead Matt gains, and door he enters. As hours turn into days and Caroline’s trail takes Matt from Wisconsin to Minnesota, Illinois, and beyond in search of the cradle, Matt makes a discovery that will forever change Marissa’s life, and faces a decision that will challenge everything he has ever known.
Elegant and astonishing, Patrick Somerville tells the story of one man’s journey into the heart of marriage, parenthood, and what it means to be a family. Confirming the arrival of an exuberantly talented new writer, THE CRADLE is an uniquely imaginative debut novel that radiates with wisdom and wonder.
When I first saw my copy of The Cradle by Patrick Somerville, I was drawn to the picture of the old-fashioned cradle on the back of the truck, as well as the synopsis of the novel that discussed how a young husband-to-be heads out in search of a cradle that his wife remembers from her childhood. I thought the novel would be touching, but I never envisioned how many twists and turns it would entail.
The novel starts with Matthew, a young husband who decides to embark on a journey to find the cradle his wife remembers from her childhood home. Her mother ran away when she was a child and took, among other things, this cradle. Due to give birth very soon with their first child, Matthew decides to try and hunt it down to bring home to his wife.
The novel then flips to about ten years later and focuses on a woman named Renee and her fears about her son’s deployment to Iraq. As the story unfolds, the reason behind Renee’s fears becomes apparent as she lost her first love during Vietnam.
The novel continues to alternate between the two plot lines. While both were interesting, I have to admit that I spent the first half of the novel trying to understand how the stories were interconnected. At one point, however, I literally said, “OH!” when the connect between the two stories was revealed. At this point the novel seem to speed up, revealing a number of other plot twists that made it an amazing ride as a reader.
Overall, I really enjoyed this novel. I like the strange and wonderful characters that were revealed throughout the course of the book. While I wish the connection between the two plots had been revealed a bit sooner in the novel, I did enjoy how everything came together in the second half of the novel. I hope that Patrick Somerville will consider writing a sequel because I enjoyed the characters and would really like to know what happens next.
*I received no monetary compensation for this review. I received a free copy of the book to read and provide an honest review of its contents. The opinions are entirely my own and may not reflect your own opinion upon reading the book.*
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