The past has a way of catching up to us, often when we least expect it. In Waiting for the Night Song, the idyllic childhood summer of two girls implodes after a shocking event.
Once close friends, Cadie Kessler and Daniela Garcia went their separate ways after witnessing a deadly argument. Twenty-five years is a long time to live with a burden like theirs, but they’ve tried to move on with their lives. When the secret buried in their childhood woods is exposed, everything they thought they knew about that summer will be questioned.
In her first novel, journalist Julie Carrick Dalton extols the virtues and beauty of the natural world and laments the forces that threaten it, passionately capturing the devastation that a fire can cause and the helplessness people feel in the face of such uncontrollable disaster. Adult Cadie works as an entomologist, trying to protect the New Hampshire woods she loves from an invasive species and the ever-present fear of drought that could lead to devastating fire. Through Cadie’s eyes, we see her beloved forest as living and breathing, worthy of care.
Ever since the fateful day when gunshots echoed across her lake, fear has been Cadie’s constant companion. Dalton slowly teases out this growing sense of dread for Cadie and Daniela—and Daniela’s undocumented family— against the backdrop of impending catastrophe and growing tensions in their small town.
Though her style comes across heavy-handed at times, Dalton writes thoughtfully and poetically about a place clearly close to her own New Hampshire-based heart. Cadie and Daniela’s interrupted friendship forms the core of the novel, and Dalton captures that best-friend bond so intensely forged in youth.
Through vivid and emotional imagery, Waiting for the Night Song speaks to the power that a place and its people can have over your life.