Stein's timber-baron family saga is built upon, and torn apart by, the lush, woodsy nature of the Pacific Northwest. A teen's first visit to his ancestral home — a haunted old folly of a mansion — introduces him to new family and old ghosts with an angsty splash of young love and hero worship. Recommended By Tracey T., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
When a boy tries to save his parents' marriage, he uncovers a legacy of family secrets in a coming-of-age ghost story by the author of the internationally bestselling phenomenon, The Art of Racing in the Rain.
In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant, whole trees, and is set on a huge estate overlooking Puget Sound. Trevor's bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch Grandpa Samuel -- who is flickering in and out of dementia -- to a graduated living facility, sell off the house and property for development into tract housing for millionaires, divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.
But Trevor soon discovers there's someone else living in Riddell House: a ghost with an agenda of his own. For while the land holds tremendous value, it is also burdened by the final wishes of the family patriarch, Elijah, who mandated it be allowed to return to untamed forestland as a penance for the millions of trees harvested over the decades by the Riddell Timber Company. The ghost will not rest until Elijah's wish is fulfilled, and Trevor's willingness to face the past holds the key to his family's future.
A Sudden Light is a rich, atmospheric work that is at once a multigenerational family saga, a historical novel, a ghost story, and the story of a contemporary family's struggle to connect with each other. A tribute to the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, it reflects Garth Stein's outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation, and his rare ability to see the unseen: the universal threads that connect us all.
"Witty, atmospheric and filled with acutely observed characters, Stein's ghost story possesses uncommon depth." People
"Rich and textured...Stein is resourceful, cleverly piecing together the family history with dreams, overheard conversations, and reminiscences...a tale well told." Seattle Times
"Haunting in all the right ways." Booklist, (Starred Review)
The bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain presents a long-awaited new novel in which a boy trying to save his parents' marriage uncovers a vast legacy of family secrets.
In the summer of 1990, fourteen-year-old Trevor Riddell gets his first glimpse of Riddell House. Built from the spoils of a massive timber fortune, the legendary family mansion is constructed of giant whole trees and is set on a huge estate overlooking Seattle's Puget Sound. Trevor's bankrupt parents have begun a trial separation, and his father, Jones Riddell, has brought Trevor to Riddell House with a goal: to join forces with his sister, Serena, dispatch the ailing and elderly Grandpa Samuel to a nursing home, sell off the house and property for development, divide up the profits, and live happily ever after.
But as Trevor explores the house's secret stairways and hidden rooms, he discovers a spirit lingering in Riddell House whose agenda is at odds with the family plan. Only Trevor's willingness to face the dark past of his forefathers will reveal the key to his family's future.
Spellbinding and atmospheric, A Sudden Light is rich with unconventional characters, scenes of transcendent natural beauty, and unforgettable moments of emotional truth that reflect Garth Stein's outsized capacity for empathy and keen understanding of human motivation--a triumphant work of a master storyteller at the height of his power.
About the Author
Garth Stein is the author of the a New York Times bestselling novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, published in thirty-five languages, and two previous novels, How Evan Broke, His Head and Other Secrets and Raven Stole the Moon. He is the co-founder of Seattle7Writers, a non-profit collective of Northwest authors working to foster a passion for the written word. He lives in Seattle with his family. Visit him online at GarthStein.com.