Title: Sybelia Drive
Author: Karin Cecile Davidson
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Goodreads Rating: 4.25
In the small lake town in Florida where LuLu, Rainey, and Saul are growing up, life is complicated by war, longing, and the sharp pain of conditional love. Coming of age while coming to terms with their detached parents, unrealized dreams, and the backdrop of the war in Vietnam, the threesome push past childhood into their teenage years with the shared baggage of a generation—one that is caught up in the lingering innocence of a private world until outside events cast that world in a different light, and the three measure their days by measuring each other: whether in wit, complicity, or hurtfulness. In the years that they are together, men walk on the moon, students are shot at Kent State, and of their three military fathers, only one returns from Vietnam.
I was given an ARC of this book by the publicist in exchange for an honest review.
Sybelia Drive is a beautifully written story about a family and community in a small picturesque Florida town. We follow the lives of LuLu, Rainey, Saul and their families during the Vietnam war. The story is told from the POV of several characters and jumps between current and past events. I loved the connection between all the characters it gave the whole book a rounded feel and the links made the community feel stronger.
Rainey and LuLu’s relationship was interesting. Lulu played the younger sibling role perfectly and had all the stereotypical traits you would expect; jealous, immature and sneaky. I loved her though and thought she was the firecracker of the book, her personality was colourful and candid. By the end I loved the bond between the two girls and the last chapters left a smile on my face.
I’m a huge fan of war stories and how they affect not only the soldiers but they’re family as well. This book hit the mark with the description of the Vietnam war and I liked Royal’s story. It felt honest, raw and emotional a true reflection of what life is like when soldiers return from the battlefield.
For me this story was a little hard to get into at the start, I can’t put my finger on why, maybe it was the jumping between characters initially? Once I got used to it I became more invested in the characters and knowing how their stories played out. I also would of liked a little more to happen and got to know some of the other characters more such as Alan. It would of been interesting to hear some of his story from his POV.
By the end this story had broken my heart, pieced it back together and filled it with love and warmth. I look forward to seeing what Karin produces next.