Title- How the One-Armed Sister Sweeps Her House
Author- Cherie Jones
Genre- women’s fiction, literary fiction
POV- see below
Cover– a bit inconspicuous for the genre
In Baxter’s Beach, Barbados, Lala’s grandmother Wilma tells the story of the one-armed sister. It’s a cautionary tale, about what happens to girls who disobey their mothers and go into the Baxter’s Tunnels. When she’s grown, Lala lives on the beach with her husband, Adan, a petty criminal with endless charisma whose thwarted burglary of one of the beach mansions sets off a chain of events with terrible consequences. A gunshot no one was meant to witness. A new mother whose baby is found lifeless on the beach. A woman torn between two worlds and incapacitated by grief. And two men driven into the Tunnels by desperation and greed who attempt a crime that will risk their freedom – and their lives.
Prologue- the story telling was captivating and intrigued me right away. I love that the girl character is already questioning the meaning of stories in a different way than the lesson is intended to reach.
Chapter 1- Stella has Adan’s baby a month early and the prognosis doesn’t look positive for the infant. Meanwhile, Adan has left Stella at the hospital because it seems he just murdered a neighbor that morning and hid the gun in a dumpster. We don’t know their age or why he murdered someone and who screamed in the house across the street when the gun went off. We don’t know the extent of the relationship between Adan and Stella yet. There’s head hopping so it feels like we’re seeing the story from an outside perspective instead of experiencing it.
Best part- story telling elements
What I would change- less head hopping
Prose- above average
Thoughts while reading-
Chapter 2- this is the point of view from the widow. Adan killed her husband and she’s now suffering through the post trauma of nightmares and regret of their last interactions and the unknowns about raising her two step children.
Chapter 7 is the first point of view from Martha back in 1948
Chapter 11 is the first point of view from Wilma in current 1984 again
Chapter 15- Adan has a perspective in 1970
Chapter 16- Beckles has first POV
Chapter 17- Tone has first POV
Chapter 26- Esme has first POV
Chapter 28- Sheba has first POV
Ending- Page 274- goodness I wanted more hope in the ending. That was heavy
I recommend this for those who like dark reads, relationship based stories with multiple points of views and years spanning the novel.