STARRED REVIEW
January 09, 2018

A time for healing

By Deborah Reed

June is trying to pull herself together after a devastating divorce. She’s in recovery—one month sober—and has left Ireland for her home on the Oregon coast. Her grandparents are gone, and their bungalow—not far from where she was raised—is in disrepair.

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June is trying to pull herself together after a devastating divorce. She’s in recovery—one month sober—and has left Ireland for her home on the Oregon coast. Her grandparents are gone, and their bungalow—not far from where she was raised—is in disrepair.

Jameson is looking for a sense of self as well. He and his wife are recovering from the deaths of their twins several years earlier. Money is as tight as the sorrow that holds their hearts captive from each other and, in Jameson’s case, from their foster child, Ernest. When a call from June brings restoration work for Jameson, he is undeterred by the distance between the job and home. Willing to spend the time away from his wife and child, he hops in his truck and points it toward the coast.

The Days When Birds Come Back explores how two broken people can find hope and healing in sharing their grief. June and Jameson are cautious, each carrying their own baggage and wary to share it with anyone new. “I am cracked and broken in more ways than I know how to fix,” Jameson says. June understands.

Author Deborah Reed (Things We Set on Fire) plies the reader with beautiful sentence after beautiful sentence. Her descriptions of coastal Oregon’s trees and wildlife are as lush as the landscape itself. But these lovely words aren’t strung together with more regard for the individual than the whole. In Reed’s capable hands, they are building blocks of a story that will capture readers’ imaginations.

The Days When Birds Come Back is a reminder of the power that’s possible when we allow another person in, as June recognizes: “We find what we want to find in others’ stories, just as we find what we want to find in our own.”

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